Friday, July 09, 2010

In The Presence Of Greatness

I recently connected with an old friend and one of the pioneers for Natural Mother activism on Facebook. Sandy Musser was the first real warrior in the battle that I learned about when I reunited and came out of the fog, 17 years ago. I have a signed copy of the book at the left. I wrote a poem for Sandy while she was serving her time and she included it in her book.

Sandy is a sweet-faced grandmother. She looks like everyone's neighbor, cookie mom, and ladies who lunch. There is nothing about her demeanor to indicate the view of the system that she was a felon. There is nothing about her vision and opinions that make her a threat to anyone except those who were terrified of the loss of their control over the lives of mothers and adoptees. But, with nothing but a minor offense committed by one of her searchers, she was tried, convicted and placed in a Federal facility in Florida for six of the longest months in her life. I have a feeling that her time spent waiting for release was akin to the wait to lose her firstborn to adoption...harsh, painful and terrifying.

We don't have a lot of heroes among the active mothers. We have plenty who THINK they are leaving a legacy in the arena, but they will never measure up to Sandy, in my opinion. I doubt if any of them would be willing to do time in prison for what they believe. Sandy didn't want to. She was just as frightened, dejected and sad as any of the rest of us would be. But she never changed her views. She never folded on any of her sisters and she made it through, not without scars, but with her will to live intact. She is no longer allowed the right to help in searches, but she has written books that will always resonate with mothers of the BSE/EMS and she still supports the fight.

This happened a long time ago as the young measure years. It seems just like yesterday to me. She was indicted in 1993, after being investigated for 3 & 1/2 years. You can read more about her story at her website at . It is so hard to realize that this lady was seen as such a threat that she was treated in this manner.

The government really was the loser in this one. They didn't stop searching. They just made those that search a lot smarter about how they got around the system and obtained information. Reunions are still happening every day and will probably continue. The persecution and prosecution of Sandy Musser made me realize that we are not just fighting an industry...we are fighting a government sanctioned industry. That sanction seems to originate from the erroneous idea that infant adoption will save the government money. The opposite is true.

The money that could be used to give a little family of mother and child a leg up is now given to those who adopt in the way of tax breaks and subsidies. Looks like the powers that be just transferred the funds to different pockets. These government types still seem to see every unmarried, young and/or poor mother as a future welfare queen. More's the pity. I firmly believe that the industry and the politicians and customers that support it are eventually going to have to pay the piper for their short-sightedness. Even as we BSE moms die off, the actual arena of activism is growing. One way or another, they are going to have to be dragged, probably kicking and screaming, into the society of the 21st century along with other nations, such as, say, Australia.

Sandy Musser's treatment was high-handed, arrogant and unnecessary. She didn't deserve punishment. But, for her courage, she deserves a medal.


Sandy Young said...

I agree, Robin. Coincidentally, I just got my Friend approval from her this morning.

After I read her story and had discussed it, I spent a lot of time thinking about what she did, and what I would have done in her shoes. I admire her courage, her conviction and would love to think that, in her place, I would have done the same thing, but I am not sure. She is truly a hero to many of us, and her story, testimony to the fact that mothers NEVER forget.

Sandy Musser deserves every single bit of recognition she gets. Her actions and the price she paid secured her place among other American Heroes of reform including the Suffragettes. I am honored to know her.

Von said...

Have to salute the greatness of never giving up or giving in, may there be many more like her or maybe they don't make 'em that way anymore.
In Australia adoption will hopefully just die out.Once the apologies are done we will be in 21st Century.
Of course mothers and adoptees still have the pain and after effects of adoption to live with for the rest of their lives but hey! We've got our big girls pants on!

Carlynne said...

Robin, thank you so much for my continuing education. I had no idea about Sandy and I'm in awe of her. I'll continue reading the rest of her website.