The one, single decent thing Brian O’Callaghan has done in the past two years was to admit to killing “Madoc”, the child he and his wife bought from Korea.
Did I say bought? I meant adopted. I get those words mixed up because there is little difference between the two, but also because 3-year-old Hyun-su was treated like a defective puppy by his owners. And international adoptees are very much like puppies to the adoption industry.
If Hyun-su was physically harmed over the course of three months or if it really was a one-time, unplanned assault, O’Callaghan’s actions both before and after cannot be described as anything other than premeditatively abusive.
Deliberately hiding his PTSD – going so far as playing with his prescribed meds in order to pass drug screening – was just the first offense. That he would even consider taking a child, and not just a child, but a special needs foreign toddler, out of the country and culture of origin when O’Callaghan himself could not handle life is appalling. If he knew he had to hide the PTSD then he knew he was not qualified. Yes, I know it was a married couple who adopted, not a single man, but they both needed to qualify, and he knew he was unfit by the fact he had to cheat. What is tragic is not the murder (crime is not “tragic”), it is that he could have taken responsibility for his own issues and shortcomings before adopting, instead of taking responsibility for a crime later. Hyun-su’s death was completely preventable because he should never have been placed with these people.
And if Holt International or Catholic Charities suspected the PAPs were anything less than extraordinary, then there is blood on their hands as well. But Holt did not beat the child to death, they merely handed him over. After taking their fee.
So after procuring an especially vulnerable toddler under false pretenses, giving him a new name, and taking him halfway around the world where absolutely everything was different from what he knew, it was only 100 days before he was dead. O’Callaghan would only admit to slamming this helpless tiny person into a wall. An autopsy suggested otherwise. Either way, his behavior even after the assault was abusive. He left the boy near death to cover his tracks at the crime scene, then casually brought him to the ER.
Even after death, the abuse continued. As with Hana Williams, in the official statement, the final word in the form of the obituary, the adoptee is owned and voiceless:
Madoc Hyeonsu O’Callaghan, age 3, of Damascus, Md., passed away Monday, February 3, 2014, at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Born in South Korea, Madoc joined his forever family, October 23, 2013, and from that day on he was a smiling, content, and loving son and brother. He loved his dogs, his big brother Aidan, and anything his parents made for him to eat. He wasn’t dealt the simplest hand in life, but he found something to love in it every day. He is survived by his parents Brian and Jennifer O’Callaghan, his brother Aidan and his dog Buddy. ~The Frederick News-Post 13 Feb 2014
A forever family is apparently “Til death do us part” just like marriage…when marriage ends with one spouse killing the other. And we are supposed to believe that “Madoc” was a happy little tyke for those 100 days and would have continued being “content” except for that pesky homicide.
I will conclude with this excellent blog post from Red Thread Broken, because there is nothing more I can say that will be even remotely calm.
Elle Cuardaigh is author of The Tangled Red Thread.