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June 3, 2016

Victory: Norway to return stolen children

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There is good news out of Norway for supporters of religious freedom and parental rights: Marius and Ruth Bodnariu will soon be reunited with all their children.

Mike Donnelly MIKE DONNELLY Director of Global Outreach

The Bodnariu family became the focus of global activism when Norwegian authorities removed all five children from their home in November 2015, citing the parents’ Christian beliefs and the fact they occasionally spanked their children.

According to an official statement on the Bodnariu family’s website, the Naustdal municipality of Norway has now “come to terms” with Marius and Ruth for the return of their four children who remained in state custody. The youngest child, 9-month-old Ezekiel, had been returned to his parents in April.

Citing a lawyer for the family, The Federalist reported that the positive outcome occurred after a “County Social Welfare Board” hinted it would likely rule against the officials who had removed the children. The article also said the children would return home by mid-June.

Mike Donnelly, HSLDA’s director of global outreach, traveled to Norway in April to meet with the Bodnarius and speak at a rally in support of the family. He joined with activists from around the globe in protesting this travesty committed by the Barnevernet, Norway’s family and child services agency.

“The Bodnariu case shows that people working together can make a difference,” Donnelly said. “This is a positive resolution for this family, but there are many other families who continue to suffer from unjust action by this and similar agencies. HSLDA appreciates the involvement of all who played a part in bringing this terrible ordeal for this family to a hopeful end.”

Cristian Ionescu, a spokesman for the family, shared his gratitude in an online post: “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.”

An international team of advocates and supporters have worked tirelessly on the family’s behalf. American and Norwegian attorneys advised the family and helped draw attention to their plight. Members of the U.S. Congress met with Norwegian Ambassador Kåre R. Aas and urged reunification of the family.

Marius, who is also a Romanian citizen, received support from the extended Bodnariu family and their friends as they mobilized Romanian communities worldwide. Thousands of activists staged dozens of demonstrations outside Norwegian embassies and consulates calling for the reunification of this family.

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