A Christian couple in Norway have reportedly become embroiled in a battle with social services after their five children were removed on charges including ‘Christian radicalisation and indoctrination’.
Norway’s child welfare services, the Barnevernet, seized Marius and Ruth Bodnariu’s two daughters, two sons and subsequently their baby, Ezekiel.
An online petition calling for the return of their children has been signed by over 26,000 people.
According to a Facebook page set up in support of the family, the ordeal began on 16 November when the Barnevernet took the two oldest children out of school without their parents’ knowledge to an undisclosed location.
Officials and police then visited the family home where, apparently without any documentation, they seized their two sons and arrested Ruth – who they took to the police station along with baby Ezekiel. Marius was arrested while he was at work and also taken into custody.
Marius and Ruth were interrogated for several hours and then allowed to return home with Ezekiel. However, the Barnevernet returned the following day to take baby Ezekiel, claiming that Ruth was “dangerous”.
Abuse of power
Over the next two weeks the parents were refused access to their older children and were told that they had integrated well into their separate foster homes and didn’t miss their parents.
The family’s lawyer was eventually able to secure a document clarifying the allegations against them, which included being ‘radical Christians who were indoctrinating their children’.
The lawyer pointed out that the Barnevernet had abused their power and broken Norwegian law by failing to provide documentation and separating a breastfeeding baby from its mother.
The family attended a hearing on Friday last week to appeal against the decision but the Barnevernet rejected their arguments.
The Facebook page reports that the couple will now be allowed to see Ezekiel twice a week for two hours at a time. Ruth will be allowed to see their younger boys once a week but they will be denied any contact with their daughters.
The update added that “while seeking God’s will”, the family and their legal team will make a decision concerning the next steps they will take.