Norwegian authorities agree to return Christian children to parents
June 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – In the face of international pressure, the Norwegian government has dropped charges against Bodnariu parents and agreed to return their four children still in foster homes spread across the country.
After meetings through most of last week between the “county board,” the parents Marius and Ruth Bodnariu’s lawyers, and lawyers for the Barnevernet, the child welfare agency that seized their five children last November, the latter grudgingly dropped its case and agreed to return the children.
“They will return the two boys this week,” Houston lawyer Peter Costea told LifeSiteNews. “They wanted the girls to stay with their foster families until they finish school.”
According to Costea, who gathered signatures of more than 100 human rights lawyers and experts from around the world to a petition for the children’s return, “International pressure is what prompted the release of the children.” In addition to his petition, Romanian Christian expatriates, like Costea, held protests in 50 cities in more than two dozen countries outside Norwegian embassies and consulates. They gathered over 50,000 signatures to a petition.
Public school officials provoked the apprehension when they reported to Barnevernet that the Bodnarius used corporal punishment on their two school-age daughters, and also blamed their tough love approach on the conservative Pentecostalism the father brought with him from his native Romania (where he met his Norwegian wife).
An uncle, Daniel Bodnariu, told LifeSiteNews that the school principal complained that the parents are “very Christian” and that “the grandmother has a strong faith that God punishes sin, which… creates a disability in children.” Still, the principal recommended counselling, not apprehension.
But Costea believes something more sinister is at work than anti-religious bias. Norway, he reports, seizes an inordinate number of children: in 2014, for example, it took 9,611 from their families. By way of comparison, Texas, with a population of 27 million to Norway’s 5.2 million, took only just over 17,000.
Why the disparity? Costea offers two explanations: First, Texas’ child protection services have to justify their actions from the outset in open court, while Barnevernet operates behind closed doors. But second, he believes that a disproportion of the apprehensions are from immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, with the aim of turning their children into good, liberal, secular Norwegians.
“I am inclined to believe,” said Costea, “that Norway is up to something extremely shameful. I am talking about an undeclared policy of demographic redistribution. Norway is aging. Norway is not producing children. It is importing them so fundamentally that it will cease to be Norwegian or European. Barnevernet's job, then, is to seize the children and place them in Norwegian homes where they will lose their ethnic and linguistic identity and become Norwegian.”
Costea said the country board told the Barnevernet to negotiate the terms under which the children could be returned to the parents, “because it was going to lose the case.” Even with this warning, a settlement could not be reached, so the agency simply dropped its complaints against the parents and ceased its efforts to place the children for permanent adoption, rather than lose.
Costea said there has been very little support for the Bodnarius from within Norway. “Even the Christian newspaper has been completely hostile, saying the Bible forbids corporal punishment.” Nonetheless, “the matter is closed,” he told LifeSiteNews. “It is closed.” Costea has offered to help others with human rights complaints. “It is a matter of Christian solidarity.”