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Norway has a peculiar child protection (barnevernet) system. At a most insignificant suspicion that a child has been mistreated by its parents, the child will be taken by the sate from its parents and relocated to an undisclosed foster family. *The parents will then be presumed guilty until they prove that they are innocent, a process that can take up to several years. It does not matter if both parents and the child are not Norwegian citizens – they can even be tourists visiting the country for a couple of days, the process would still be the same.
Two weeks ago a Russia family working in the North of Norway experienced just that. Their 5-year old son had a loose milk tooth, which the mother helped to remove. The child mentioned that at school and the teacher took the child home, suspecting abuse. The parents were getting worried when the child did not return from school in the evening, but became even more worried when they got summoned by the police to give statements. They were denied their request to see the child, and they still do not know where the child is. Child protection also expressed interest in the younger sister of the boy, but the parents managed to send he back to Russia to her grand-parents, while they remain in Norway for the legal battle to get their child back. All three are Russian citizens, so this is not just a case of kidnapping, but of an abduction of a foreign citizen.
Here is a 2011 case, where a Russia single father was imprisoned for his attempts of getting his Russian son back from CPS:
According to Human Rights Alert Norway, a Norwegian human rights organization, child protection services take children from their parents every day, without investigation or court decisions. As many as ten children are forcefully separated from their parents in the country on a daily basis. In 2011, 50 children, who had been separated from their parents against their own will, committed suicide.
Norway had about 8000 such cases, 20 of which against Russian citizens. India made a TV documentary, called “Nightmare in Norway” – an Indian child got confiscated from its Indian parents in the same manner after the authorities learnt that the child crept into his parents bed after having nightmares (a child, according to the rules, must always sleep in its own bed).
The state-kidnapped children are often placed in care of families of “non-traditional orientation”, which is in accordance with the Norwegian doctrine of de-genderaisation of children. A child should be an “it”, until “it” is old enough to decide if it wants to be a “she” or “he”.
In those cases when parents managed to prove their innocence, and children were returned, the families were still forced to leave Norway.
So, when visiting Norway with a child, make sure not to anger it so that it does not start tell tall tails of abuse to its teachers and don’t feed it from your hands (falls under the transgression of “forced feeding”)
The problem I see with the Norwegian child care system is that parents are presumed guilty until proven innocent with immediate removal of the child, which is traumatic for the kid. In most other countries the families are observed/followed up, and the extraction of the child requires a court order.
Here is one of the “Indian” cases
And how the hell did they get that information in the first place?
That’s quiet easy. Children, especially in lower grades and in kindergarten often tell (exaggerated) tales to their peers and teachers. So teachers are very well informed about the most intimate aspects of a family’s life, which may surprise even the parents. My friends with children had some rather amusing stories. The trick is to sift exaggerations from real threat signals.
The problem with the case of this Russian kid is that under the international law, what happened to him can be classified as an abduction of a foreign national. Plus this is an infliction of a gross psychological trauma on the child. In a normal world the child should have been transferred to the Russian child care authorities, which should decide what to do in accordance with the Russian law.
If I were ever separated from my parents in such a manner and learnt about it as an adult, I would have sued the bastards kidnapping me for million amounts for each day lost of my life with my parents. The reverse applies, and a lioness protecting her cubs would have seemed like a tame purring cat compared to my mother should something happen to her children. I remember as a 12-year-old I went for a month to pioneer camp. That was tough, being separated from the family, even though parents visited a couple of times. Here, a 5-year-old is a total isolation in a foreign country.
I can hazard a guess at what this 5-year-old has been through for the last 3 weeks of separation from the parents. He could feel anger and confusion at being, what he’d think, abandoned by his parents, who don’t come to rescue him. Coupled with interrogations (sorry, “interviews”) and possibly suggestive questions, the child may start wishing for the parents to feel the same hurt he is feeling and tell accusative stories, thus unwittingly sealing his own fate of being forever torn apart from the family. Alternatively the boy might start thinking that there’s something wrong with him if his parents abandoned him, which will lead to insecurity, inferiority complex and potential future suicidal thought. In either case, this three-week separation has already done its damage.
The hearing deciding the fate of the abducted kid was today…
What irks me is that if the parents are suspected of violence, then they should be arrested and charged, while the child is returned to the family – he has a sister, whom the parents saved from the system, grandfathers and grandmothers. Instead the child is arrested and incarcerated.
News update in Russian:
This is one of the 20 cases against Russian kids over the last 2.5 years.
When a child is taken from a family, I equate it to the capital punishment. In case of a mistake, a “judicial murder” with irreversible consequences takes place – a family is sentenced for life without child and the child is sentenced for life without parents.
To address the Indian question: that might by the only case, I don’t know, but statistically I doubt it. In a TV interview, the Russian consulate in Norway cited that they know of about 8000 cases of child “extraction” over the last 2.5 years. The majority was said to go against families where one or both parents are foreign nationals. Only 20 case touched Russians. Given that the Indian population in Norway is magnitude large than Russian, I would say that that was not the only case touching an Indian family.
A bit of cultural background on milk teeth removal. Smiley It’s largely mother’s responsibility in Russian families. The procedure involves a string, tied to a tooth and a sharp pull or a door. The child gets as a prize to carry his own tooth on a string, showing it off and boasting how brave and grown-up he is. I can see if a child told something similar to his teacher, he’d be misunderstood…
Some background on family values. In Norway, after the oil was found in the 70s and the wealth went up, the definition of family went at the same time down. In Russia, a family includes great-grand-parents, grand-parents, parents, children, often living together. In Norway, it’s the core family (kjernefamilie) of two parents plus a child of up to 18. It is almost expected of a child in his late teens to move out and find some basement apartment to rent, taking up a loan (the banks love this convention). It’s met with scorn if you “live with your parents”, as people here stopped realising that at some point you stop living “with your parents” and “parents start living with you”, while you take care of them. I tell this because Russian families coming to say, Norway, with their children, do so for their children’s sake, to give them better position in life, as it is also an investment into the parent’s old age, when it will be the time for the children to care for their parents, they’ll be better equipped to do so. The egoistic parents leave their children behind in Russia and come alone.
And the latest news!
CPS decided to keep the child in the foster family, saying it will be best for the child, and the parents will be “allowed to see him form time to time”. Undecided
The parents will go to court (of course), but as the 2011 case shows, they might get imprisoned for wanting their child back.
The mother did her maternal duty and for that the child is stolen from her. I have no words…
Another case from 2011:
A Norwegian court has recently ruled that the daughter of Russian national Svetlana Tarannikova must undergo the adaptation process in Norway. Before that, child protection services took Svetlana’s two sons away from her. The boys were delivered to the foster family of two women with untraditional sexual orientation.
And another case from 2011, when a boy managed to escape from Norway:
The Polish court allowed a Russian boy who escaped from Norway to return home, but it is not that easy to do. The Norwegian authorities have placed him on a wanted list and have entered his data into the Schengen passport control area. The Norwegian side has not provided the Polish court with the documents used as a basis for the return of the Russian citizen to Norway.
For several months Pravda.Ru has been following the dramatic story of the Russian citizen Irina Bergseth whose two children were taken away by the Norwegian social services. Twists and turns in this story remind an entangled movie plot: as soon as it seems that the happy ending is near, something unexpected happens. But, unfortunately, it all happens in real life.
I was trying to wrap my head around what was happening and one word kept popping up in my mind:
Slavery can take many form. Labour slavery, sex slavery, this is child slavery. They all satisfy some needs that cannot be satisfied domestically: more workforce, more women, more children. These abducted kids (about 10 each day as per statistics) are grown detached from their origins, taught to be good Norwegians.
This happened before in history:
From the 1380s to 1648, the Janissaries were gathered through the devşirme system which was abolished in 1638. This was the taking (enslaving) of non-Muslim boys, notably Anatolian and Balkan Christians;
Note that also in the Norwegian cases, mos children are under 6 years old, in an age, when they can be easily “re-programmed”.
This kid still has his younger sister, who is free. Hopefully she’ll come looking for him in 15-16 years’ time, once she is of age…