Many parents who adopt don't want to talk about it -- especially with their adopted children. If they broach the matter at all, they often do it hastily, wearing a "pained look" that tells their children: Don't bring it up, says Linda Clausen, coordinator of the Washington branch of Concerned United Birthparents Inc. (CUB).

But adoption -- and its lifelong effects -- is precisely the subject people are encouraged to discuss in Clausen's Bethesda-based support group. At monthly meetings, adoptees, birthparents, adoptive parents and anyone affected by adoption share dialogues and perspectives on the adoption process.

Clausen, a social worker in the District, said group members often discuss searches for their children or birthparents. One of the biggest challenges for members: building a new relationship with a long-absent child or parent, said Clausen, who was reunited with her son 27 years after she put him up for adoption in the 1960s.

The group is not a search organization, said Clausen, but it does provide referrals to such groups and emotional support to people undertaking searches. That support is especially key, she said, for children who don't want to discuss their searches with their adoptive parents.

Neither the local branch of CUB nor the national group, founded in 1976, offers information on how to adopt.

Clausen's group, open to people age 18 and older and to younger people who are accompanied by a parent, meets the fourth Sunday of every month.

The next meeting is Sunday, July 25, at 2 p.m. in Bethesda. For the location and further information, call 202-298-1011, e-mail dcmetrocub@aol.com or see www.cubirthparents.org. Members who decide to attend regularly pay a $40 annual fee.

-- Samantha Ganey