After a year of odyssey a Norwegian court returned Tsvetelina Olland’s children
They confirmed that the decision of the social service was made on the basis of mistakes
August 2, 2019, Kapka Todorova for „24 Hours“
Tsvetelina Olland, the Bulgarian mother, whose children were abducted last year by the Norwegian Barnevernet after complaining on behalf of the children’s father that they did not want to spend enough time with him, finally managed to fight and bring her son and daughter at home.
In May 2019, the Norwegian Court of Appeal decreed that the decision of the Regional court in Arendal, in which Tsvetelina lives, was taken on the basis of mistakes made by officials in Barnevernet and canceled it.
«I want to announce the happy news to all who were aware that the May 2018 decision of the Regional Court in Arendal, Norway, was ignored by the Court of Appeal in May this year on the basis of mistakes made by officials and an institution (you surely remember which one), who decide human destinies» – Tsvetelina wrote in her Facebook.
She sought help from the Bulgarian authorities and the media after her children were abducted, separated from one another and placed in separate families in different cities.
According to Barnevernet, it was appropriate to separate them so that they did not influence each other.
This was a violation of their rights and the mother began a hard legal battle against the social service.
The mother was forbidden from calling or contacting the children on the Internet, and the first visit, given to her in May, was postponed until January of the following year. Children have no right of contact with Tsvetelina’s family either.
Tsvetelina’s father, the renowned circus artist Georgi Popov-Gebosh, was arrested in September last year for attempting to see his grandson through the school fence and had to stay in the arrest for several hours despite lack of guilt and poor health. Unfortunately, Gebosh died in May this year before he could see his daughter and grandchildren reunited.
«I can now be with the ones I love the most. I breathe calmly and enjoy life. But .. there is one big But! Who will restore the lost time with loved ones? Who will erase the black memories of the day they take away your most precious? Who will return my father, who has gone out of grief and failed to wait for victory? Who will erase the humiliation I have suffered from some narrow -minded people, deprived of morality, incompetent but in power because they work for a machine that is a state inside of the state.
Who will erase the tears? There is no such force!
My appeal is: Fight till the end, especially when it comes to the most valuable, the children.
Be strong and do not give up, no matter how difficult and impossible the situation may seem. If we surrender, we surrender our children! Thanks to BTV and in particular to Maria Tsantsarova! Thank you all, my friends! I love you!»
In an interview with 24 Hours, Tsvetelina Olland told how it all started and why it came to this situation. The father complained that the children did not want to live with him for two weeks a month, running away and calling the police. Barnevernet sent a check to Olland’s home and, at his father’s request, his mother’s and children’s passports were taken away so that they could not leave Norway.
Even after their removal from Tsvetelina, the children, who were then 1 and 11 years old, flatly refused to live with their father, which is the reason for sending them to foster families. According to one of the witnesses to the case, the father once struck his daughter Celine in front of many people and she fell to the ground from the impact. According to the mother, he was rude to the children and so they did not want to be with him.
But Barnevernet’s conclusion is this: Since children do not want to live with their father, they should not live with their mother too.
The social service comes to their home in April 2018 and picks up the children. Later, Tsvetelina received an email informing her that she could stop paying the children phones because they would not use them. And this is the only way to communicate with each other.
According to the Bulgarian woman, her husband was very angry about the divorce. This conflict was the reason for attending a parental disagreement course in 2017. The course also aimed at bringing children closer to their father, but it did not work.
„Instead of looking for a reason for the kids not to want to go to their father, is there a connection between them, how he behaves with the children, they started visiting our home,“ Olland says. For two months, they visited us almost every day and watched how we live, talking to the children. Their conclusion was that there was no cause for concern and that I could take care of the children. The only thing that they thought was unusual was that the children were too kind. They came to this conclusion after the children thanked them for the visit. „
In November and December 2017, the social service began surprisingly visiting them without warning. In April of the following year, they received a letter from the same psychologist who previously made the recommendations.
This time she wants their passports confiscated so that they cannot escape, even though it has already happened. «After the second letter, they came and took the children. I can’t figure out the difference between November and April. First they say that there is no cause for concern and I can take care of the children and then they come and take them. Without any development on the case, everything was the same. In November, they did not worry about the children, but in April they came and took them».
As soon as everything is clear, the service is bombarded with letters of protest from colleagues and friends of the family who are outraged by the step and protest against it. Tsvetelina Olland is a teacher at a school in Arendal, also leading the local gymnastics team. She is respected and liked by her fellow citizens and colleagues. Everyone testifies that she takes care for her children. Olland also turns to Bulgaria for help. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs appeals to the case and sends queries and protest letters to the Norwegian side.
Several of Barnevernet’s decisions are a real perplexing: To divide siblings and send them to cities 200 km apart. Do not allow contact between them. To stop all attempts of children to speak and learn Bulgarian. Removing them from the sports clubs they enjoy. Stop any contact with their usual environment.
The mother cries out for her pain:
«This is the other thing I do not understand. Being separated from me, their friends, and acquaintances is bad enough. But they were also stopped from their favorite activity. They adore gymnastics, they want to deal with it. But right now they are not dealing with anything outside of school. Many times I have sent messages to the Child Protection that, for example, Andreas’s coach is ready to visit the child’s home, take him for training and bring him back. No answer! I do not understand this!»
She hires a lawyer who ultimately manages to turn the case in her favor. The Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the Barnevernet Service.
But one year the children and mother are separated and have almost no contact.
Tsvetelina was born in Plovdiv, the daughter of the famous circus artist Georgi Popov – Gebosh. The famous acrobat and clown worked with his daughter for a long time. Tsvetelina graduated from Southwestern University in Bulgaria. For a long time she worked as a circus and variety artist. In Norway, he is a gymnastics coach. In 2013, she received the Icarus Award for overall creativity. She has worked for many years with the famous Balkanski Circus.
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Project of the National Group “Parents United for the Children”