NORWAY – Christian parents finally get their seized children back following international pressure
The Norwegian Child Protection services have agreed to return the remaining four Christian children to the custody of their family and they will soon be reunited with their parents. The decision to return the children to their parents is part of an agreement reached with the family by the authorities.
Following extensive international campaigns by the Bodinarius’ large number of relatives and family friends and Christian groups from many countries, last month, more than 100 attorneys from the United States and abroad and members of the European Parliament wrote a letter to the Norwegian Prime Minister. The letter stated that the government’s act of seizing the children violated domestic and international law and urged their immediate release:
“We find the facts of this international incident unacceptable not only on legal grounds but also on humanitarian and moral grounds. We view these transgressions as grievous breaches of domestic and international law… Therefore, it is important that Norway immediately release the children back to their biological parents.”
The Romanian Pentecostal parents, Marius and Ruth Bodnariu, who have been living in Norway for more than a decade, issued a statement thanking all those who had campaigned on behalf of the family:
“We thank you all for your love, support, prayers, and active participation in the reunification of this family. May God richly bless you and repay you for all you have done to bring this family back together.”
They asked for the media to respect the privacy and uninterrupted intimacy of the family in the coming months to allow the children to resettle and reintegrate themselves in their family home and environment.
Seven months ago Swedish child services went to the family’s home, allegedly without documentation, and seized the oldest four children from the Christian couple as a result of a teacher’s concerns about how they were being raised by “radical” Christians who were “indoctrinating” their children with Christianity. They also arrested the mother Ruth, who had to take her baby son, Ezekiel, with her to the police station and later arrested her husband Marius at work.
After being interrogated for several hours, the parents were freed and allowed to go home with baby Ezekiel, but without the other children. The following day, officials returned to the Bodnariu family’s home and took the baby away as well on the grounds that Ruth was “dangerous.” In early April, Ezekiel was returned to his parents but it is not known when the other children will return home.
The family appealed the agency’s decision to remove the children last November, but it was rejected. Earlier his year the authorities had even indicated that the older children would be put up for adoption before a second appeal was launched and a full investigation carried out.
Romanian parliamentarian Ben Oni Ardelean recently wrote in a post on Facebook that the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe has approved a report on the Bodnariu case.
“Today, the members of the Committee for Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have decided to elaborate a Draft Report on: ‘Striking a balance between the best interest of the child and need to keep the families together.’ … The report will consider to which extent the abusive measures taken by the Childcare Social Services from Norway are compatible with the Council of Europe’s standards in this specific field, and the resolution, which will draw the main conclusions from the report, will make concrete legislative recommendations to the Norwegian competent authorities.”