Sandy Musser, Adodption Reform Activist
since 1976, was sent to Federal Prison in 1993
for her work of reuniting families.
Read more about the events and
how long the government pursued her
in the narrative below.
The charges, the indictment, the trial,
the aftermath, and how it all unfolded
are revealed in her book ~
TO PRISON with LOVE ($5.99)
An Indecent Indictment & America's Adoption Travesty
~~~ Also Author of ~~~
I WOULD HAVE SEARCHED FOREVER ($4.99)
One Woman's Search for the Child she Surrendered During the Mid 50's
WHAT KIND OF LOVE IS THIS? ($6.99)
Adoption Reconciliation & Need for Reform
e-books available through Amazon/Kindle
In 1976, Sandy was invited to speak to The Children's Bureau in Wilmington, DE (pictured on right) to share her birthparent experience with adoptive parents and social workers. That became the catalyst for her ongoing reform work. During the 1980's she founded the following national organizations:
Adoption Triangle Ministries
(Distributed spiritual flyers written by triad members )
Adoption ALARM Network
(Advocating Legislation for Adoption Reform Movement)
Adoption & Family Reunion Center
(Reuniting families separated by adoption)
In August 1989, at the First AAC March on Washington, Sandy presented a rendition of MLK's Dream speech which was called THIS TIME MUST COME. In that speech, Sandy questioned:
"How many of us are going to have to stand trial, pay fines, and be
prosecuted for demanding or exercising our God-given right to our
original birth certificate or other records concerning our own lives?"
From the day that speech was given, the government began a three and a half year investigation. A New York State Investigator with the Dept. of Vital Statistics created a bogus case and a taped phone call to set her up, and finally indicted her March 1993 for "her work of reuniting families." Their were 39 charges; the primary one was "conspiracy to defraud the government of confidential information" even though Sandy never had access to any adoption records.
Sandy questioned how any individual can break a law that is illegal to begin with? In orther words, how can a free democratic government, who touts civil rights for all their citizens, seal an entire class of individuals' personal identities by altering and falsifying their birth certificates and other legal documents; then seal them "forever?" This has been our govrnments practice for 75 years. Is this not considered discrimination against one group or class of people and a breach of their civil rights??
She became the scapegoat, albeit a willing one. Those who were closest to her said she often mentioned her willingness to go to jail for adoption reform because she strongly believed it would take civil disobedience, in one form or another, for real sweeping reform to occur.
When push came to shove, she was true to her commitment by refusing to take the generous plea deal that the prosecution offered, just prior to closing arguments, during her trial in July 1993. Standing firm in her belief that every adoptee has a right to their true identify, and refusing their "deal", she was sent to Federal Prison in Marianna, FL on November 5, 1993.
But this indictment was never about Sandy Musser. It was about the government's effort to slow down the adoption reform movement and the number of families that were being reunited. The prosecutor stated that "We hope this will be an example to others who are doing the same thing." Henry David Thoreau in his article "Civil Disobedience" (1849) said that "individuals should refuse to obey any government rule they believed to be unjust" - and he went to jail for refusing to pay poll taxes.
Sandy was released from prison on March 3, 1994. After serving her four month term, she was sentenced to two months house arrest (with an electronic ankle device); a $50 monthly fine during her three year probation term; and was forced to close her office and no longer be able to reunite families. That was the most difficult part of her sentence since she loved the work she was doing.
Here's a picture of some of her best friends who came to celebrate following her March 3, 1994 release from prison. L-R: Marcia Cohen, Sandy, Lee Campbell, Gail Hanssen, Ann Henry - B.Row.: Terry West, Pat LaMarco, Alison Ward)
During her long sabbatical, she continued to receive several reform newsletters and occasional e-mails which kept her informed. She knew, however, that she wasn't ready to jump back into the fray. In fact, when getting together with her old birthmom friends, Lee, Gail & Alison, the "A" word was hardly ever mentioned!
Early in 2013, realizing it marked the 20th year anniversary of the whole horrendous experience, she became re-energized and decided to get re-involved. With input from several members of various adoption activist groups, it was decided that a national focus and direction was needed. It was then that the Adoption ALARM Network Facebook was established.
Become an ALARM FB member today; check out our Files Folder where there is a load of material for your perusal. Look for the:
Adoptees Restoration Act Proclamation
Calling for An Executive Order for an Unfunded Federal Mandate to provide e very adoptee with a copy of their original birth certificate based upon the 14th Amendment and the Declaration of Independence
Feel Free to Print, Copy & Share ALARM's material
If you have a talent that you'd like to share with ALARM
or need suggestions or ideas as to how you can become
involved, please send Debbie Dorr-Ismail
a private message on Facebook.
Sandy lives in Cape Coral, FL.
She was reunited with her daughter, Wendy, in 1977.
She has 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren
She is currently raising her 9 year old great-grandson and
is active with Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
and does some volunteer work for After the Rain,
an addiction recovery program for women in SW Florida.
This website was created by Sandy's daughter, Sherri Zimmerman
To learn more about Sandy's biography and other speeches, go to the original website created by her Grandson, Dan Craig.