Norwegian Government to Return Children Seized Over Concerns About Family’s Faith

bodnariu-compressedOSLO, Norway — Following a seven month battle, the Norwegian government has agreed to return the four remaining children who were seized from their parents last November after a school principal expressed concern over the children’s “religious upbringing.”

“Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! The Bodnariu family will be reunited!” reads a statement released by spokesman Pastor Cristian Ionescu. “The Naustdal Municipality of Norway has come to terms with Marius and Ruth Bodnariu for the return home of all of their five children.”

As previously reported, in November, the Barnevernet seized Marius and Ruth Bodnariu’s two daughters, two sons and baby Ezekiel. The two eldest children were reportedly removed from school without their parents knowledge, and then Barnevarnet representatives arrived with police at the Bodnariu home, where welfare services seized the remaining children, minus the baby.

The organization returned the following day and removed the infant as well after the family tried to resolve the matter after being arrested.

Marius Bodnariu’s brother, Daniel, who is a pastor, explained in an online statement that the matter began when the children’s principal contacted welfare services after expressing concerns over how they were being raised, including in regard to the family’s Christian beliefs.

“The process of confiscating the Bodnariu children started when the Vevring School principal, the middle school attended by Eliana and Naomi, called the Barnevernet and expressed her concerns regarding the girls’ religious upbringing, her understanding that the girls are being disciplined at home, and that she considers the parents and grandmother to be radical Christians; an overriding concern that the principal’s perception of the parents’ and grandmother’s religious beliefs inhibit and handicap the girls’ development,” he outlined.

Peter Costea, the president of the Alliance for Romania’s Families, an attorney who has had access to court records surrounding the case, also concluded that the family’s faith was a factor in the children’s seizure.

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“Documents and minutes of meetings have emerged since the abduction showing that as early as … more than a month before the children were taken into custody, the officials at Naustdal municipality disapproved of the parenting style of the Bodnariu parents, believing it, after questioning the children, to be based on the Bible,” he explained in February. “They plainly state that Barnevernet ‘is worried that this is a way of upbringing which is justified by the Bible.’”

Costea outlined that “[t]he documents also mention that the children were ‘brought up to respect God and their parents’ values.’”

“Barnevernet interpreted this as a possible conflict between the children’s assumed inability to live up to their parents’ value expectations and faith and that the parents’ religion could create an ‘inner conflict’ in the children and a stressful family environment,” he continued. “Religion is bad for children, Barnevernet’s minutes seem to say, and too much religion is lawful justification for snatching children away from their parents.”

During the course of the case, the discussion turned to abuse allegations as Barnevernet expressed concern that the children might have been spanked, which is illegal in Norway. The grandparents of the children, who have lived with the family at times, rejected the allegations completely.

“We can assure that we have never seen that violence has been used against the children,” the grandfather said in a recent blog post. “Not even that they have raised their voices to them. The children themselves have never told us that the parents have been nasty to them.”

The Bodnariu’s were reunited with their infant son in April, but continued to press for the return of their remaining four children.

On June 2, Romanian MP Ben Oni Ardelean outlined on social media that the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) had 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,'” he wrote.

“The report will consider to which extent the abusive measures taken by the Childcare Social Services (Barnevernet) 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,” Aredelean explained.

On Friday, it was announced that an agreement had been reached with the Naustdal Municipality of Norway to allow for the return of the Bodnariu children.

“[W]e are pleased that we have arrived at this result and for the cooperation that is created,” Councilman Øyvind Bang-Olsen told the publication Dagen.

“We thank you all for your love, support, prayers, and active participation in the reunification of this family,” Ianescu also said in a statement. “May God richly bless you and repay you for all you have done to bring this family back together.”

The family is now requesting privacy as their family reintegrates. Protests in support of the Bodnariu’s had been underway for the past several months in cities around the globe.

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  • Gal 5:22-23

    Good news, the child protective services would only do that if they had assurances the children were not in physical danger, an agreement must have been reached with the parents.

    • Josey

      oh yes because they always have the best in mind for the children…**NOT** There are I am sure some good ppl in cps but from what I’ve personally witnessed most of the leaders of cps do not give a hoot, they broke the law in taking those children in the first place and traumatized those kids in the process all because the principal reported them and exaggerated the truth and it had to do with their raising their children in the faith of the Lord and God’s word that this atheist principal didn’t like, cps or whatever it is called in this country didn’t have the best at heart for these kids. I am so glad and thank God that the children are being returned, cps should focus on the neglected kids in the school system and helping them!
      Here in the U.S cps is mostly a joke, kids that truly need protecting don’t get it and before you say I have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ve had personal experience with cps in fighting to get my grand daughter out of a horrible situation her mother got her in, cps called my grand daughter a liar to her face in front of us, even the judge when we had to hire an attorney was dismayed at that treatment cps showed in believing the mother over the child, the judge believed my grand daughter and I thank God for His protection over her and her brother since it took us six months fighting in court to get her out of there and she is now with my son her father and is doing well, thank God but she still has the effects of the traumatization that comes up once in awhile that we help her through with prayer and encouragement. The conditions of the home alone should have been enough to have her and her half brother removed, fleas everywhere and other infestations, rats, cardboard for some windows, path ways to walk from one room to another, doing dishes in tub, the foulest words spray painted on the walls of this place, etc…let alone the drugs that were being sold out of that house. They claimed they did a welfare check which was the first step but my grand daughter said they didn’t even come into the house, they stood at the door and called me back to tell me all was well, I knew better for I had been there a couple of times and was in shock at the conditions. CPS is another organization that needs an overhaul just like the IRS, VA, etc. etc….

      • Gal 5:22-23

        your anecdotal story is interesting but I’m not sure what it has to do with this case.

        • Josey

          because of your praise of cps in your post I responded…your words: the child protective services would only do that if they had assurances the children were not in physical danger, an agreement must have been reached with the parents.
          Really, no I think cps were found out to have been wrong, they couldn’t get away with it is why the kids are finally being returned, the community didn’t buy CPS’s bull and I hope these parents sue them for damages done to these kids emotionally! Glad this family and community fought against this garbage!

          • Josey

            And the fact that you didn’t get why I posted what I did just shows what a dull tool you are in the tool shed.

          • Gal 5:22-23

            and ad hominems like that is what identifies people who aren’t wanting to have ernest discussions.

          • Guest

            Your poor spelling is what identifies you as a non-Mensa Member. 🙂

          • Gal 5:22-23

            you can think what you like of course. but reading the articles about this case outside the echo chamber makes me think otherwise.

            as one article in a local Christian media outlet said:

            The local newspaper Firda reported that the couple now risk six years in prison for violating the criminal law section covering «domestic abuse» for «threats, coercion, deprivation of liberty, violence or other violations». Even clearer: The parents are being charged for violence against their own children.

            – In the Child welfare act, there is no legal basis whatsoever for taking children from their parents based on religious or other beliefs, says Hanne Sæbø at County governor’s office of Sogn og Fjordane, in Firda.

            I think the family promised to stop physically hitting their children to get them back.

        • Guest

          I’m not sure what you have to do with Christianity, but here you are, Mensa.

  • LadyFreeBird♥BlessedBeTheLord

    Thank you Jesus.

  • The Last Trump

    “Religion is bad for children, Barnevernet’s minutes seem to say, and too much religion is lawful justification for snatching children away from their parents.”

    And there you have it, folks. A moment of honesty slipping out from the leftist liberal totalitarian despisers of God and of freedom of any kind. Constantly breaking the law where religious freedoms are concerned and being forced in the courts to finally admit their wrongdoing. Only to repeat their offenses over and over again. First it was, “separation of church and state!” to remove Christianity (and ONLY Christianity) from the school grounds and public squares, making it only acceptable to actually practice your religious freedoms at home in a closet! But if you are ever in doubt concerning their actual ultimate objective, you really have no further to look than the above quote from the totalitarian God despising horse’s mouth.
    “too much religion is lawful justification for snatching children away from their parents.” Wow.

  • Judy Zwyghuizen

    They should NOT be ever takin away ,I smell a Lawsuit! this is Horrifying! for way to long without their children totally CRAZY to take their children!

    • Peter Leh

      are you familiar with norway corporal punishment laws?

    • Guest

      I hope they get out of Norway.

  • Judy Zwyghuizen

    God is watching over this Family! Amen!

  • Debbi Lynch

    Spanking is against the law. Government is crazy.

  • Peter Leh

    it was not about faith but abuse according to Norwegian law.

    • The Last Trump

      Sure it was, Pete.
      You just keep telling yourself that.
      No religious persecution in this case whatsoever, huh? Never mind the facts.
      Except the “abuse” you are referring to just happened to BE their faith. Remember?

      • Peter Leh

        not from what i read. what is the law for corporal punishment in Norway?

        not saying I agree with it btw…

        • Guest

          The initial complaint was over the family’s faith. They said the family was “too religious”.

          • Peter Leh

            Religious is legal in Norway… you cannot take a child away because of religion.

          • Guest

            And yet they did.

          • Peter Leh

            for slapping their child..

          • Guest

            Read the quote you’ve been graciously supplied on this thread. Their initial complaint was that they didn’t like the family’s religion.

          • Peter Leh

            they have have “concern” all they want. They children were taken for slapping the children,

          • Guest

            That’s not the initial reason they took away the children.

          • Peter Leh

            according to… heaver clark? See has been constant in her lack of journalist integrity.

            that said, i am not familiar with norwegian law. but i do know spanking is against the law. this family spanks… so guess what happened?

            there are plenty of ” radical ” families in norway that do not have their children taken away because of their religion. hell they are plenty of muslim families immigrating to norway.

            you spank you get investigated at the very least in norway… period 🙂

          • Guest

            I’ve been following the story on Norwegian news. They removed the children because of religious indoctrination, according to their claims.

          • Peter Leh

            no slapping?

          • Guest

            Nope. They drummed that up afterwards.

  • Guest

    Praise God!