Children to be reunited with Christian parents
A Christian mother and father will soon be reunited with their five children, after Norwegian authorities have agreed to return the children to their parents.
The children, aged from just three-months-old to nine-years-old, were forcibly removed from Marius and Ruth Bodnariu, last November, because Norway's child protection services, Barnevernet, were concerned about the children's biblical upbringing.
'Bible-based parenting style caused stress'
After privately interviewing the family's two oldest daughters at their school in Naustdal, Barnevernet abruptly took all five children into emergency custody, taking first the girls, then the younger boys, and finally the three-month-old baby.
Minutes from a meeting by the Barnevernet agency state:
"[We are] worried that this is a way of upbringing which is justified by the Bible. [Marius and Ruth's] Bible-based parenting style caused stress for the children, [and we are concerned that the girls might have] an inner conflict [about] not being good enough when it comes to their parents' values."
Another reason given for the children's removal was the parents occasional use of physical punishment, such as spanking, as a disciplinary method. The Bodnariu family were unaware at the time that Norwegian law prevents spanking as a method of discipline.
The children had expressed no fear of their parents, and when examined, doctors found no signs of physical abuse. Yet for months the parents were unable to see their five children, and letters from them were withheld by social services.
However, following an earlier decision to return the youngest child, Norway's Dagen newspaper has reported that an agreement between Barnevernet and the Bodnariu family has been reached, which will see the remaining four children returned home.
The Bodnarius' case has garnered worldwide support, with a US petition for the children's removal exceeding 60,000 signatures. On Saturday 16 April over 50 rallies took place in Norway and in the Unites States.
Further international pressure came last month when one hundred lawyers, politicians, and European parliamentarians joined forces to petition the Norwegian government to reunite the family.
Praise and glory to God
An official statement by the family's spokesman Pastor Christian Ionescu said: "The Naustdal Municipality of Norway has come to terms with Marius and Ruth Bodnariu for the return home of all of their five children.
"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…
"Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever, Amen! Revelation 7:12."
Some of the Bodnariu children will finish out the school year in their foster homes, but will return home by mid-June.
Alarming growth in cases
Cases such as the Bodnarius are growing at an alarming rate in Norway. A BBC report on the Bodnarius revealed many cases like the Bodnariu's, in which little effort had been made by Barnevernet to keep the family together.
Under International Pressure, Norway Reunites Seized Children With Family (Federalist)
Official statement – Bodnariu case: The Bodnariu family will be reunited (Bodnariu Family)
Naustdal-foreldra får borna tilbake (Dagen)
50 rallies take place for Christian parents in Norway who had children removed