Bodnariu Family Reunited, Norway Returns Children to Christian Parents

It is a great pleasure to announce that after seven months the Bodnariu family will be reunited. (For background information, please see our January post). On June 3rd, 2016, Norway’s Child Protection Services “Barnevernet” agreed to drop all charges against Marius and Ruth Bodnariu and have decided to return their children within the next two weeks. 

The decision was made on the heels of a County Board hearing held last week. A previous hearing held in March resulted in the return of the couple’s youngest child, Ezekiel. 

This latest hearing was held before a five person panel comprising the County Board. The County Board operates as the second level of review in Norway for parents contesting the removal of their children. The Board hearing is akin to an administrative hearing in the United States. At the conclusion of the proceedings on June 2nd, the Board urged the parties to resolve this dispute by mutual agreement. The two sides, however, were unable to reach a joint resolution. 

With the Board’s decision approaching, and sensing that it was about to lose the case, Barnevernet dropped its case and agreed to a resolution that would return all of the children to their parents. Because Barnevernet dismissed its claims, the matter is now officially closed and no appeals are forthcoming. Although the family celebrated the weekend together, the couple’s two girls will return to foster care for two weeks to finish school and the two boys will be returned next week.

This outcome could not have been achieved without the combined efforts of faithful believers around the world. Legal advocacy, in combination with international pressure in the form of letters, articles, petitions, and international protests proved decisive in the victory. Led by key pastors and churches, with the faithful support and prayers of believers around the world, the movement on behalf of the Bodnariu family was more than Barnevernet bargained for.

But the most important factor was God who remains sovereign and in control. This victory provides hope to many others still fighting Norwegian authorities for the return of their children. Even more, we may never know how many additional families will be spared now that Barneverent must think twice before tearing families apart.

The last seven months have caused believers, particularly Romanians, to unite with one another in prayer, to engage the culture, and to grow as a community. The victory over Barnevernet, a task thousands of other families have failed to achieve, is a testament to the power of a faith-based community engaged in prayer and in action, trusting firmly in the purposes of God. “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good . . . .” (Gen. 50:20).