Korean reaction to the tragedy

Suz has a post up about the Korean reaction to the Sueppel murders, as reported in Yonhap. Please go read the article and Suz's, post, too.

My own thoughts about this horrible tragedy have been all over the map: anger that Steve Sueppel couldn't find another way to solve his problems, the unmitigated arrogance, insanity even, of thinking he had to take his entire family with him; sympathy and sorrow for the family that grieves him (yes, him, too), his wife and his children; disbelief that such a tragedy can even happen (although it did, right here in my area, this weekend - I woke up to the news that the estranged husband of a local pediatrician killed their three children.) I don't think I will ever forget the image of the six Sueppel caskets lined up in that cemetery. What a loss. And what a living hell life will be for the surviving family members.

Although I believe Steve Sueppel's act had nothing to do with adoption, the fact that the children have parents in Korea connects it to adoption. I know there is no such thing as a "predictive" homestudy, and that any human being, given a particular set of circumstances, is capable of terrible acts. At the end of the day there is probably nothing anyone could have done, save Steve Sueppel himself, to prevent this tragedy.

But that doesn't take adoption out of the picture, far from it. Every one of us who thinks, writes, talks, or works in adoption should be reflecting right now on what we can do to ensure adoption practices are honest and ethical and protect children above all.

Each of those beautiful children who died in Iowa City last week has a mother and father in Korea. Those women and men may not have read this story, which didn't hit the national press with the force I would have expected. And given the Korean agency's policy of not providing proactive updates to mothers and fathers, they may not know what happened to their children for a long time, maybe never.

I don't know how an agency would tell a woman her son or daughter had been murdered by the person to whom she had entrusted him or her. I don't know how that woman would recover from her grief. But I believe they have a right to know, and to support from the agencies to which they turned when pregnant.

My heart goes out to each of them, just as it does to the Sueppel and Kesterson families.


suz said…
Surrendering my child to adoption sentenced me to a lifetime of agony and anxiety over how well she was, if she was dead or alive, etc. If this had happened to my child, I would want to know.

Death one can understand (even if by horrible circumstances) and it can be grieved. People validate kind of pain. Having out there that you cannot see and cannot touch and have no idea how they are doing can often produce disenfranchised grief and a lifetime of trauma.

I believe, strongly, those mothers in Korea should be told. Let them grieve now. Spare them a life time of wondering and agony only to possibly find out in the future their child died years ago.

It is all very sad.
Margie said…
That's exactly what is in my mind, Suz. "Sparing" people difficult information does nothing but lead to secrecy and lies. I hope Holt does the right thing, but I'm not confident.

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