In Their Own Words: The story of Ken and Vibeke in Norway
We are Ken and Vibeke from Norway. Our Baby Aria was stolen from us by the Norwegian child protection services (CPS), called ‘Barnevernet’.
Late in June 2012 Vibeke and a former friend was on a concert. After the concert her friend invited her to an after party at a motorcycle club, this was the first time Vibeke had been to this club. We listened to music and had a nice time. First time Vibeke noticed Ken was when she asked to change the music, as Ken was the one sitting quietly behind the computer handling the playlist. Vibeke knew right away that he was something else. He seemed a little mystical, calm with a strong energy surrounding him. When he looked at you, it felt like he was looking straight through you. All these things was what Vibeke fell for. Ken had at the time been a member of this motorcycle club for 10 years, but no matter what he was, Vibeke felt that this was a very special man and liked him right away.
What Ken noticed about Vibeke, was that she was very polite and did not seem like other girls who typically are around clubs like this. He also noticed that she did not stick around until the morning, but had gone home for the night. It was the behaviour Vibeke showed all together that made him very interested and could not get her off his mind.
Vibeke and Ken met just a couple of times, before they became inseparable. After two weeks Ken invited her on a trip to Spain. When they came back home, they found their first flat together. We wanted to build a future together and be happy.
Ken ended his membership in the motorcycle club very short time after they met and both of them focused to be the best persons they could be for each other. So since 2012 there has always been a process of improving themselves as individuals and as a couple, with all the ups and downs a relationship has. Even though both of them was not perfect, but managed to overcome the luggage they had from the past.
During April 2014, Vibeke and Ken found out that they were pregnant with their first child. It was a true blessing for them both! They were now going to be parents! So now all of their focus was to become the best parents they could be for their child. Because their child was (and still is) their number one priority.
Only two days after Aria was born, CPS came to the hospital with the police and forced Vibeke to move with the baby to a Family Center without Ken.
After a week, the CPS came with the police and stole Aria and placed her in a temporary home. Despite that the Family Center noted that Vibeke was being a good mother for her baby daughter, CPS claims that Aria’s father was dangerous to the mother and child. They also claimed that Vibeke had depression, and thus could not take care of Aria.
The CPS`s only reason for removing Aria from her mother’s care, was that Vibeke would not renounce her husband, Ken. No further investigation was made before Aria was placed in a foster home.
We never even got the chance to try to be parents for her. Aria is therefore robbed of us, her legal, biological parents, who care for her very much. Ken and Vibeke are robbed of their legal rights to be parents, and thus to be a family.
Ken was a foster child himself, taken from a mother in vulnerable circumstances, abused in foster care and falling in with a criminal gang as a youth. Ken still remembers the night he was snatched from his mother by Danish CPS and locked up in a room by himself in a shelter. It was pitch dark, and he spent the night at the keyhole of his door trying to catch the pinprick of light outside.
But Ken has changed his life and never hidden his past. When Vibeke was pregnant, they had a few arguments overheard by neighbours. The police came around. They took Vibeke with them and questioned her. But after questioning her they dropped her home where Ken was, saying that in their opinion there was no violence.
Then, suddenly, two days after Aria was taken, and eight months after the incident with the police, Ken was charged with domestic violence. The CPS used this as the reason to take over care of Aria, but two days after the care takeover was processed, Ken received a letter from the police saying that charges against him had been dropped! This is the way they construct, and maintain the dangerous appearance of the fathers throughout the case. To underline their assessments made by the Barnevernet/CPS.
Anyway, Ken and Vibeke have proven their commitment to each other and their family in the nearly three years since then. Is it fair to judge them so harshly over some arguments years back?
After 10 months fighting for the return of Aria, the court ordered a psychologist to investigate our case. The psychologist advocated that we should be given a chance and that we had the parenting skills needed.
In the court’s ruling it was stated that the CPS made a mistake in removing baby Aria from us. Despite this gross injustice, Aria was not allowed to come home to us. Now we see her only 6 times a year, two hours each time. All the evaluations show we are being very good parents for Aria and she likes to be with us. All charges against Aria’s father has been waived. But no attempt is made by CPS to bring Aria back to her us.
Two and a half years have gone by. In this time we have been evaluated by two doctors, four psychologists and two family therapists, all disagreeing with CPS’s assessments of our case. The municipal authority in charge of our case has also missed the deadline applying to the County Council for reversal of the decision to remove Aria from our care. In Norway, there is a County Council to which appeals lie for decisions of the CPS.
Our lawyers says that this delay is a clear violation of rules and goes against the intention of the applicable laws. He also says it puts all legal security at stake and is almost a scandal in itself, considering that this case concerns an infant taken from the parents.
According to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act, cases of reversal shall be sent to the county council for child welfare and social matters as soon as possible and no later than three months after receipt of the claim. We applied for the case to be transferred to a different municipality, but instead CPS responded by asking the County Governor to appoint new experts in connection with the case. even though there are already several specialists on record stating that we are very good parents.
We have no words that can describe how frustrated, sad and angry we are. It feels like everything is geared to losing invaluable time, so that we will be met with the argument that our daughter has got too attached to the foster home and that it will not be in the best interest for her to return to us.