This letter was written by my brother Daniel Bodnariu, but it gives a voice to our family as a whole, as we are all supporting, suffering, and standing by Marius and Ruth trough this trial. For all those who asked for more details, although this is a long read, I encourage you to read every word, as we are trying to give all the details, as they have been given to us. Although I will try to give the most accurate translation, I took the liberty of changing a few words around (with Dan’s approval) to give a better understanding of the document in English.
“On behalf of our family, I would like to begin by thanking you first, for your continued support through prayer and fasting! As promised, I am returning with details, as they have become available to me. We thank you for your trust in this matter, as we assure you that we did not try to hide anything nor to create a subjective image, but rather we tried to be as objective as possible and as close to the truth to the extent in which information became available to us. In this regard, we reassure you that as we learn new things, we will share them with you; as such, we hope to present a clear image of the tragedy our family is currently going through. So far, Marius and Ruth gained into their possession just a portion of the investigation documents. They only received some of them today, such as the Barnevernet charges.Marius and Ruth only today became aware of certain happenings in the case’s series of events, as part of their review of the documents they just received.
What we know so far, and is now also supported by documentation, is that the entire investigation started from an alert provided to the Barnevernet by the school principal, where the girls Eliana and Naomi attend. The principal called Barnervernet, expressing ‘concerns’: the girls told her they are being disciplined at home, also the girls are ‘challenging’ in the sense that they talk a lot and do not want to obey the school rules, but are creative and intelligent. In her message she also said that the parents are faithful Christians, ‘very Christian’ and the grandmother has a strong faith that God punishes sin, which, in her opinion, creates a disability in children. According to the principal’s statement, the girls’ aunts and uncles also share this belief. The complaint further says that although the girls are distinguished by good results at school and that she does not believe them to be physically abused at home, she believes that the parents need ‘help’ and guidance from the Barnevernet into raising their children.
Following this referral, the Barnevernet workers went to the school and interrogated the girls regarding their home life. Among the things expressed, the girls mentioned that sometimes they hide some things they do from their parents, in fear of being punished by their parents by pulling of their ear, a slap across their behind or upside the head, but that they are not afraid of their parents or of going home. One of the girls gave an example of a time when Marius came home, held the baby in his arms and the baby reached for his glasses. According to the girl’s statement, Marius then took the baby and shook him “as a rag.” Marius then told me the way things took place: he came back from work, leaned over the baby and the baby reached for his glasses. Marius was glad, as this was the first time the baby (3 months old) reached to grab something with his hands, so he gladly took him in his arms and bounced him, but not shook him “as a rag.” The baby then also grabbed his hair, just as babies do when first learning to grab things with their hands.
Children can see things differently, and sometimes misinterpret some of our actions, or certain events. Sometimes they can fable, describing things that never took place. I remember such episode with Marius, during the times of Ceaucescu. A pastor from Suceava was visiting us, and at one point there was some dance music playing on the television. Marius was about 4-5 years old at the time and he started dancing to the beat of the music. The pastor asked him: “Marius, you dance so well, who taught you?” “My dad” Marius replied. “Oh, so your dad dances as well?” “Yes,” Marius said, “both my mom and dad dance.” My parents don’t dance, therefore where did those affirmations come from? I will let you answer that question by yourselves. What I would like to highlight is that you can easily manipulate a child to say something that is not true. The law in Norway gives almost total credibility to the child and none to the parent. Some situations are seen differently by children, it seems a monstrosity to exploit this to the detriment of the family. There are many cases of abuse in the family, and of course these cases should be punished, but it is an enormous responsibility to be able to discern when the abuse truly exists and when it doesn’t, because by not discerning appropriately you can destroy a family.
Who is to blame? The law, that offers full authority to some people to intervene in the family and act as they see fit, or some social workers, who in the name of the welfare of the child (and possibly other benefits) destroy the family, and the child implicitly? From the legal documents received in Marius and Ruth’s case, it is clear that there are no signs of physical abuse; but that the (older) children stated that they were being punished. However things did not go as such. After the interrogation of the girls, the Barnervernet returned to school with the police and removed the girls.
I would like to bring forth an important detail, which the family wasn’t made aware of until reading it in the legal documents today: when realizing what was happening (that the Barnevernet was there to remove the girls from the family), the principal who alerted the Barnevernet refused to further collaborate with them. She refused to show them to the girls’ classrooms and giving out any further information.
This is where our nightmare begins; shocking our whole family, especially Marius and Ruth, although according to their laws such actions can be taken in cases of imminent danger to the children.
The baby was exposed to X-Rays; which showed no evidence of abuse. Then, he was exposed to a CT scan; which showed no evidence of abuse. During the interrogation that took place a week ago Monday, the girl reiterated that Marius shook the baby like a rag because he took his glasses off, but then ended with: “I am tired, I don’t know what else to make up!”
I would like to highlight the following, in summarizing the events and facts: following a phone complaint in which someone expresses their concern regarding the way you treat your children, you can expect the ‘Child Protection’ services and the police to come to your door and remove your children, hoping that you can later prove that in fact you are a good parent.
A friend told me how because of a dispute between him and his neighbor regarding a parking spot, his neighbor made a complaint to Barnevrnet saying he is concerned that my friend was keeping his children in the cold. My friend had to bring proof to the Barnevernet, of paying his gas bills in order to keep a warm house. He was eventually left alone. This is a happy case, but if a child exaggerates something, or simply describes things as he sees them as a child, you can be arrested and only subsequently prove your innocence.
Can children be manipulated or given leading questions, into saying things that are untrue? Yes! Because Marius was told that his children are bragging about being beaten every day; how else can we explain that?
One thing to take into consideration is that the parents did not deny the fact that they are disciplining their children by occasionally slapping their behind or pulling their ear (whom among us doesn’t?) but not to the point, and not with the intention of causing physical harm.
Whether from spite, or from sincere concern, this all started from an alert to the Barnevernet based on religious grounds (I would like to mention that this can start from any type of alert from any ‘concerned’ person) and was turned into a child abuse case, solely based on the words of children, without any physical (or any other type) of evidence. A very sorrowed Marius asked me: “Do you think my children really said that?” I told him: “Marius, we are not even sure the children really said that, and that those are not exaggerations created by the Barnevernet, to create themselves a more solid case, in the same way our ‘securitate’ used to do during the communist regime.”
Marius and Ruth were initially arrested and eventually allowed to return home, as they were not considered violent. The children were placed in foster homes, and were last seen on November 16th. The baby was taken from his mother and subjected to all kinds of tests and radiation … an entire ordeal that seems to be never ending. These are just a few of the abuses made by the Barnevernet based on their ‘Child Protection’ laws, based on things spoken (or not) by two of the five children.
For those interested in knowing the truth, one must recognize that the reality of the situation can vary greatly from what the Barnevernet alleges to have taken place.
The Barnevernet said/wrote: the baby was shaken by the father as a rag, the mother didn’t react nor report the father’s actions, as such there is no support for the children and they are in danger. The father is violent and beats his children with his fists and feet. According to the accusations, Marius should have been placed in jail; but as his brother, I don’t recognize those actions as characteristic of Marius’ behavior, nor do any of our family members, or those close to him. To those who don’t know Marius, you can either believe what the Barnervernet is saying, or you can believe that Marius and Ruth wanted to have children in which to invest, whom they love more than anything, and as such, have also lovingly disciplined them.
We would like to continue praying for this hard-pressed family! The law does not protect the family, but the interest of the child; they don’t realize that by destroying the family, they are ultimately destroying the child!
The Barnevernet told Ruth to give a written declaration in which to report that Marius is violent and physically abusing her; if she agreed, the Barnevernet would return her baby and the other children. Although the Barnervernet insisted she gave such statement, Ruth told them that she could not do that, as it was a lie. What was the Barnervernet trying to achieve: the welfare of the child, or the destruction of the family?
Marius and Ruth received outside information that the children miss them and wrote them letters. The Barnevernet is insisting that it is not true, the children don’t ask abut their parents and they never delivered such letters to Marius and Ruth!
For those who don’t know the family, I would like to provide some insight about Ruth and Marius’ social and professional lives.
Ruth and Marius are socially involved and have applied themselves professionally in the community in which they reside.
In Romania, Marius worked as a Professor of Computer Science at Open Doors Foundation; this foundation served homeless children, and it was sponsored by Norway and Sweden. There he met Ruth, who was volunteering (from Norway) at the center, and later became his wife.
After graduating in Applied Computer Science and obtaining the license for Diplomat Engineer at the Polytechnic University in Bucharest, Marius was hired by ROMATSA, in the area of directing the air traffic for Romania.
Before the birth of their first child, Marius and Ruth decided to move to Norway, in Ruth’s native village, where they considered having better conditions for raising children.
There, Marius was quickly integrated and employed as an IT engineer at the Village Hall for the Mayor’s office, with the responsibility of maintaining and developing the local computer network. Ruth returned to work as a nurse at a local hospital, where she worked prior moving to Romania.
Marius also got involved in the social life of the community, being part of the parent’s committee at the girls’ school and at Matthew’s kindergarten. Marius and Ruth invested financially in their home, with the intent of making it a better living environment for their children.
They bought toys for their children and everything needed for raising them. They involved their children in their family life through all kinds of activities, trying to develop their imagination and creativity. They own a multitude of musical instruments: guitar, piano, drums; trying to develop their children’s artistic potential. They took family vacations to various places in Norway, Denmark, Romania, and United States. They took their children all the way to Disney Land in Florida (I still didn’t take my children, and mine are already grown). Marius and Ruth, as well as the children’s grandparents, aunts, and uncles, tried to teach the children the ways of a Christian life.
What Marius and Ruth Bodnariu don’t understand is why their children were taken away without having previously been alerted as to how they were raising their children. Why were they treated as criminals, or bad parents (E.g.:drug addicts, alcoholics)? Why are they still being denied their parental rights, which should prevail against any right the State might assume? There are many questions without answers, questions that hurt and forever marked a family. An inhumane law, applied by heartless people, whom just wanted to experiment their knowledge in Psychology gained from school, or for a financial reason, without realizing that they are destroying lives, they have destroyed parents and children! May God have mercy on them…and may God give this family His deliverance and reunite them as soon as possible!