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Friday, September 26, 2008


Stephen Sparrow

Heart wrenching for you and your wife Carl. Thoughts and prayers for all concerned.

Love2learn Mom

I'm so sorry for your loss. We'll be praying for you all.


What a devastating story. God bless you. You will all be in my prayers.

Cristina A. Montes

This was, indeed, such a terrible ordeal. After reading this, I couldn't take my eyes off the photo of Elanor smiling. I'll be praying for your family, for Elanor, and for her parents, and I'll be asking other people to pray.

I'm sure the good you and your family has done for Elanor will not come to waste. "Whatever you do to the least of my brethren..."

Karen Edmisten

Our family will be praying for all of you. I'm so sorry.


You have our prayers and may God bless and protect little Elanor and use her to transform the lives of her birth parents.

Marcel LeJeune

Carl. God Bless you brother. You are all in my prayers. I am crying with you.


I'm so sorry to hear what you and your family are going through. I've written this story over and over when I was on Judging Amy and doing the research was always heart-wrenching and hard to understand, in cases where it was so clear that the child would be better off with the adoptive parents.

Our family will be praying for yours tonight, and for Eleanor. (My husband and his five siblings were all adopted, so we have a special place in our hearts for adoptive parents.)

Jennifer (Et Tu?)

Carl, I am devastated to read this. You will all be in my family's prayers.

Dan Deeny

Carl, you and your wife did your best. Try to discretely keep track of this child. Maybe you and your wife can continue to help the child and the parents.


I'm so sorry for this heartbreaking situation. My daughter's name is Elanor and she was born 1/13/05, so this story hit close to home. Your family is in our prayers.



As fellow adoptive parents, my wife and I are praying for your family, for Eleanor and the whole situation. Blessings...


I will continue to keep Eleanor in my prayers so that this situation can be eventually used for good.

Clare Krishan

My prayers at adoration this afternoon at 3 pm for two hurting families: the wee ones, their parents and their grandparents, all of whom our Lord holds in his loving hands in this life, until he can welcome us into the next. Padre Pio recommended we get personally acquainted with our guardian angel by giving them a name when we invoke their intercession: let's implore Elanor's guardian angel to work in communion with her parents' guardian angels to keep them safe as they grow in hope to become the family the Lord has in mind, as he "knew you before I formed you in the womb."

(And be generous with those donations of diapers and baby formula during Respect Life week, I always make it a practice to buy the "special needs" kind --even thought its ridiculously expensive-- since I imagine those needy mums must have the hardest time with the anxieties that plague the conscience because baby isn't thriving on the nourishment being provided)


Definitely in our prayers.



Ken Crawford

God bless you and your wife for your selfless caring for Elanor. Hopefully you can take comfort in knowing that, in addition to the benefit of your care these past months, you probably made the birth parents appreciate both the gift and the responsibility caring for Elanor is. While there is no doubt that the care you provided for her will help her, it may have been an even greater gift in that her birth parents will hopefully be better parents than they originally were. Or at least one can hope and pray that this is the case.

God bless you!


What sorrow you must be experiencing. Your family is in my prayers.


I am so dreadfully sorry for what has happened, to you and to that sweet little girl. What a heartache. I will pray a lot for all of you.

I hope this is not an impertinent question, but will there be any mechanism in place to keep you informed about her well-being? Will the parents be subjected to observation for some period of time, to ensure that she is still thriving? Good Lord, I can't even imagine how awful this must be for you...


What sorrow you must be experiencing. Your family is in my prayers.


Prayers for all of you, Carl.


What an incredible loss, Carl. God bless and comfort you and your family - and the family of the very young people who are the cause of such JOY and pain in your lives.

While I've mothered many children in my life, I've never had any of my own. I always consider my time with them as an investment that someday, hopefully, will bear dividends for them. Perhaps God put this lovely child in your life so that you could impart to her the deep love and family spirit that her own parents could not. What you will always have is this: for one brief moment of her life, you can be assured that Elanor knew love. What an enormous gift you have been given! I think you must feel how our Blessed Mother felt after the crucifixion: bereft and in inconsolable loss, yet she trusted that what seemed on the face of it a needless tragedy would be brought to the fullness of Resurrection. This is my prayer for you.

A Random Friar

I cannot even begin to imagine the heartbreak. I will remember Eleanor and all involved at the next Mass I celebrate, Saturday morning.


I found your story via Some Have Hats. I am so, so sorry to hear what you've been through. I will pray for God's best for Elanor and for all involved.


Seven years ago we adopted a beautiful little girl named Grace so I can imagine how you must feel. The possibility of this happening and the fact that we could not afford to go through the process twice was a major reason in us adopting overseas. My heart goes out for you and your family. You will be in our prayers.

MMajor Fan

During the Presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple by Joseph and Mary, Simeon, a man who was "righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him" prophesied to Mary that "and you yourself, a sword will pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." So as the mother of a newborn, Mary knew that she would share in great pain, yet she persevered through the Cross with Jesus and beyond to Pentecost.

The Qur'an honors the prophecy of Mary's suffering in conjunction with the passion and crucifixion of Jesus by describing her birth of Jesus as being violently painful.

So she conceived him, then withdrew herself with him to a remote place. And the throes (of childbirth) compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten!

Then (the child [Jesus]) called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you. And shake towards you the trunk of the palmtree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates. So eat and drink and refresh the eye. Then if you see any mortal, say: Surely I have vowed a fast to the Beneficent God, so I shall not speak to any man today.

Carl, the reason I cite this scripture from Luke and also from the Qur'an is to point out that there was great pain in even the joyous event of the birth of the Savior, from the knowledge of the pain to come. The Qur'an envisions the newborn infant Jesus speaking and comforting Mary and even prescribing dates (a well known remedy for women in childbirth). Spiritually we know what we know from the Gospel, of Jesus as the tree, the shoot from the house of Jesse. But my point is that even the most joyous birth in history is well known to have been frought with pain (the Massacre of the Innocents, the flight into Egypt, and the prophecy that a sword will pierce the heart of Mary due to the road that Jesus will walk, and Mary will accompany). Your adoption experience is a childbirth, one of the very painful ones, but one that was experienced because you and your wife said "Yes" out of the love and goodness of your hearts.

And so I'd like to comfort you by inviting you to share in that perspective that much as Mary had the foretaste of much pain in the birth of Jesus, you and your family, children included, participated in a family "birth" that resulted in a much loved person, but one whose childhood and growth you were denied because of the immaturity and fickleness of many humans today. Mary managed to carry on, even with such dire foretelling of pain, and so will you, as agonizing as I know that this is for everyone.

I appreciate your telling the story of what happened as I had wondered. Keeping you and your family, and the "daughter" in my prayers.

Jesuit John

Y'all have my prayers.


Carl, you all have my prayers.


Man, that's a hard situation. I'll be remembering you all in my prayers.

Gene Branaman

Carl, please know that you, your family, Elanor, & her birth parents will be in my prayers. God bless.


This was a heartbreaking story. I cannot imagine what you and your family are going through.

I want to say first off, that from what we do know, you would be better parents than the teens.

That said, and I don't want to hurt anyone here, is it fair the teens don't get a chance to raise their own child? Further, if they had enough to hire lawyers and such, I would assume the teen's parents were helping them out here. If there is no sign of abuse/neglect by the teens, I don't understand why they should not have the child.

I repeat, I believe Carl and his family would be better parents, and they should not have had to endure this agony, so I don't want to come off insensitive here.

I don't know if this would help, but maybe the teen's parents could be contacted and you talk directly to them? If that doesn't work, and you suspect they wont be good parents, politely tell them that despite this current misunderstanding, you would still be interested in adoption in the future.

Tim J.

God bless you all.

I can't imagine how I might feel or behave in such a circumstance. The only thing that comes close for me is the final days of my father's life, when I was (somehow) given the grace to hand him over, for good and all, into the hands of God, realizing that He cared for my father much more than I did.

My prayers are with you.

debbie s

My stomach is in knots reading this. We adopted an infant so I'm familiar with the roller coaster of emotions. (Our adopted child is now 18.) Carl, I've heard that private adoptions are risky. We adopted from Open Adoption and Family Services in Portland. They provide counseling for the birth mother to avoid this kind of thing. However, I no longer recommend OA&FS with a clear conscience: they have 'partnered' with Planned Parenthood. I know because I get the OA&FS newsletter.


My heart is breaking for you. You will be in my prayers. Thank you for sharing this with us all.

MJ Anderson

so sorry to learn of your dreadful distress. I add my prayers to those of so many others: For the protection of Elanor and healing of your own hearts. May God hold you close.

Carl E. Olson

That said, and I don't want to hurt anyone here, is it fair the teens don't get a chance to raise their own child? Further, if they had enough to hire lawyers and such, I would assume the teen's parents were helping them out here. If there is no sign of abuse/neglect by the teens, I don't understand why they should not have the child.

No offense taken at all, Nick, as these are understandable and logical questions. A truly satisfactory answer would require that I reveal a lot of information that I cannot. But I'll try to shed a bit more light on things.

The birth parents certainly have every legal right to raise Elanor. And our legal actions were not about simply keeping her, but about protecting her, which meant keeping her. We had a lot of evidence that there was danger to Elanor's physical and emotional health if she were returned immediately to the birth parents. Most of that evidence came from the family of the birth father. In fact, his mother told me, upon finding out that they wanted Elanor returned, that she and her husband would do everything in their power to keep Elanor with us as she believed, for all sorts of reasons, that they weren't competent to be parents. She and other family members testified on our behalf at the temporary guardianship hearing. Unfortunately, she eventually caved in to emotional pressures from the birth father and ended up supporting the birth parents. When questioned at the second hearing about this change of heart, she couldn't give a good reason, basically saying that she felt better about them than she once did. And, really, in light of all the evidence, she couldn't say much else. What we realized, sadly, was that the birth father's parents were part of the problem since they refused to acknowledge the serious problems that existed and take a principled stand in response to those problems.

The birth parents' lawyer was the adoption lawyer we were paying for until they changed their mind. It's not known to us if he worked pro bono or received payment. However, he apparently is going to try to have the court rule that we have to pay for all of the legal expenses. He repeatedly labelled us as liars and made us out to be the bad guys in this whole affair.

As for neglect, when Elanor was two and a half months old (two weeks before coming to us), she weighed a pound less than when she was born. The court-appointed psychologist gave strong testimony that returning Elanor to the birth parents was very bad for her emotional and psychological health. Our pediatrician gave similar testimony. Again, there is much more, but that'll have to do. I can't afford to pay for any lawsuits. :-)

Carl E. Olson

Carl, I've heard that private adoptions are risky.

Thanks, Debbie, for the comments. I'm convinced that all adoptions are risky to some degree or another. We had one lawyer (not ours) say that our case showed why private adoptions are a bad idea. I'm sure our two kids, who both came to us through private adoptions, would be surprised to hear that. And, as I mentioned in my post, we had an agency adoption blow up in our faces three years ago: after having been chosen by birth parents, meeting several times with those birth parents, and spending two days with the newborn child, we showed up at the hospital to take the child home. But the birth mother suddenly changed her mind and backed out, and then refused to speak to the agency personnel about her decision. And that was it. So, our tally goes as follows: Private adoptions, 2 for 3; agency adoptions, 0 for 1.


I'm so sorry to hear about this. You will be in my thoughts and prayers too.

Rich Leonardi

Oh heavens. I'm so sorry, Carl. Try to make your sorrow a prayer, as difficult as that is. We will pray for you this weekend.


I am sick to my stomach.My heart breaks for your family and Elanor. Please know you have my prayers.

Deacon Harold

I was privileged to be able to spend time with Elanor this summer and saw first-hand how truly joyful and at peace, how much she was loved, and how beautifully she was cared for in the Olson household.

My wife and I are thinking about adopting, and we are shaken and troubled by this outcome. Carl, please know that your family is in our prayers. We will also be praying for Elanor and her birth parents.


A colleague had a similar situation happen to him, he and his wife had taken custody of a baby boy for a number of months then the birth mother took the child back. Years later he recounted the story at a retreat, the pain still present in his voice. He still prays for the child and the mother daily, that is the only thing that he can do after all these years.

I have a little child with special needs, until now I haven’t realized how much the cross really hurts. People tell my wife and I God only gives you what you can handle, frankly such pithy statements are done with a good intention but are rather shallow theologically, IMO. It is rather hard to handle seeing suffering on a daily basis, especially in a child you love so much. My only consolation is that in some mysterious way God’s glory is revealed through these scorching times.

Your touching story has revealed his glory this day as a true testimony of love and pain. I will pray for all of you with my little one this evening.


I think that you can take solace in the fact that like many foster parents who have to give up their little temporaries, you have loved beyond measure and that will settle in that little girl's heart and soul in ways you may never know,

Peace and Joy.


Elanor remains in my prayers as well as you and your family. Pax Christi Carl.


I'm so sorry for your loss. You'll be in my prayers.


Dear Jesus,
Come to our aid.
Multiply Your Grace and Mercy.
I wonder if God allowed this to happen because He knew only you would be able to bear such suffering without loosing your souls.
It looks like Elanor would not have survived those crucial months were it not for your care.
I know when I even endure little sufferings I offer it up and ask God if He would please use it to convert a terrorist or win a state for McCain.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee, Blessed art thou among women and Blessed it the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death amen.


Tears with you and prayers to you from our family, Carl. I 'm very sure that you did what you could, and I hope and pray that her happy little interlude with your family will bring great graces beyond your home.

Peace be with you...


When I return to the seminary tomorrow, I'll ask my brothers to keep you in their prayers.

I wish I could say something to make you feel better. I can't. But I will pray for you and all involved. May God bless you and your family, Carl.


Dear Carl,

You and your family cared for Elanor at a very vulnerable time in her young life. You may even have saved her life, whatwith her congenital respiratory condition.

I note in the first picture that she looked pale and sickly. In the August photo she is a robust, pink and thriving baby--and note how she holds her fingers on her right hand--is that not unlike the Infant of Prague? I will say a prayer to the Infant of Prague that this little one, and her birth parents and you and your wife be especially in His loving care.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, St. Eleanor, pray for little Elanor.

Jason Blair

My wife and I are waiting to be chosen by a family even now. I shudder to imagine the heartache you and your wife feel. We can only cry an weep with you. May God bless you all. Prayers are/will be said for you.


Thy Kingdom Come!
Hello from Oklahoma...I'm up late working on a project and happened to come upon your website. My heart goes out to your dear family! I will offer my Mass tomorrow morning especially for you and Elanor. May the peace and wisdom of Christ Jesus be with you all!

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