I Need to Move to Norway

Because authorities in Norway are not intimidated by the screechings of “But this is my culture! But my religion mandates it!” when it comes to defending the rights of children:

The story of an Indian couple’s children being taken away by Norwegian social services on objections of them being fed by hand and sleeping in their parents’ bed has attracted worldwide attention and the intervention of the Indian government.

In May last year, Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya’s children three-year-old Abhigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya were taken under protective care by Norwegian Child Welfare Services and they have been in foster care since. Norwegian authorities equate being fed by hand as force feeding and deem it inappropriate for parents to sleep with their children, according to a report Monday on IBN-CNN’s website.

Of course, people who don;t like this system, probably should not move to Norway.

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76 thoughts on “I Need to Move to Norway”

  1. But in Norway, they also have this: http://www.blackmetalmovie.com/

    And this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surstr%C3%B6mming. Eewwwwww. [I should talk. I like kidney pie.]

    Here’s the official Norwegian press release respecting the brouhaha: http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/UD/Vedlegg/Konsul%C3%A6re%20saker/child_welfare.pdf.

    So what is the deal now? I don’t get it. Feeding by hand is “force-feeding”? They are stuffing food in the kids’ mouths like foie gras geese or something?

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    1. I could deal with some putrid fish in exchange for fjords and subarctic temperatures. 🙂

      I can’t imagine any “feeding by hand” other than sticking lumps of food directly into a child’s mouth. Which makes me think that this is a euphemism for force feeding.

      Force-feeding is very common and acceptable in my culture. As a result of this cute cultural tradition, I still have an eating disorder at 35.

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    2. Just something to ponder, for those who believe child protective services are so great. I am a person that was raised in foster care since the age of nine. No child deserves foster care. I saw more violence, sexual assault, substance abuse and suicide then five people should see in a lifetime. For those who advocate for state intervention I hope one day you find yourself in a room with ten armed foster children explaining to them why.

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      1. Honestly Clarissa in my experience yes. For what I have witnessed and been subjected to yes. Parents can make bad choices and the best solution is redirection and education not foster care.
        The depravity of people really shines through when it comes to children that dont really belong to anyone. If your referring to personal abuse suffered I would not insult you by minimizing it with comparisons. We cant treat the pain of abuse with triage tactics that we believe to be lesser forms of abuse. I would not wish on any child the life the state provided for me its just inhuman.

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        1. My most sincere wish is that the shared attitude we have to children as a society changes and foster care becomes obsolete. For now, however, any attempt to suggest that what parents do to children has consequences ends in such a wave of outrage that no dialogue is possible. 😦

          I’m sorry to hear about your horrible experiences.

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      2. I will say this for all our social abilities skills and insight all the education counselling and expertise we choose the simple act of policing and consider the issue resolved. We as a society offer no more than to placate our sensibilities and say well done. If ever a soul walked this earth deserving of priviledge and entitlement its children. We provide pre natal classes to new parents why can we not provide post natal education and parenting mentors

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  2. This is kind of ridiculous. I mean, what is the problem with hand feeding a 1 year old? Are parents in Norway expected to just give their children a spoon and let them fend for themselves? I hope these people get their children back. This is really over reaching. There must be worse cases that the government should be taking care of.

    I would not enjoy living in Norway. I like to be free from government and people. As long as I am not hurting anyone else, I don’t see why the government needs to get involved in every aspect of my private life.

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    1. That’s strange. Didn’t you recently advocate the government policing a woman’s uterus? Is that less “private” than people dragging their small children (who actually exist) into bed with them?

      “As long as I am not hurting anyone else”

      – People whose parents slept with them often report horrible personal, psychological and emotional issues as a result. Force-feeding is also a horrible thing that hurts actual living children.

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      1. As someone who participated in the previous threads, I can say that you still have not produced any examples of this as far as very young children go. All your examples were weird situations of teenagers being forced into their parents beds. And yes, the situation in Norway does seem intrusive- it is literally the government intruding into peoples’ beds.

        Hope you are ready at all times for government investigations into how you are raising your future children, Clarissa. Suppose you are “exposing” your children to “harmful sexually themed material” according to right wing fanatical future government of the US? Anti-child abuse fanatics are only human. We have already had a bad experience with this in the 80’s here in the US. Many lives were ruined.

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        1. Don’t you worry, Isabel. In this beautiful country, you can drag children into bed with you until adulthood, stuff food down their throats, go through their pockets, read their online correspondence, and everybody will applaud you. There is absolutely nothing to worry about.

          I, however, can be excused for enjoying an article as to how this is done in order countries, can’t I? It offers me some relief after all those articles and blog posts about breastfeeding until age nine and invading adolescents’ privacy as great child-rearing practices. may I be allowed to have some small space of normalcy on my own blog?

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      2. I’m with Isabel on this one. You have provided no back up to such preposterous claim. I don’t see how a 1 year old or 3 year old sleeping with his/her parents is going to be scarred in any way. We are talking about infants here who are dependent on their parents for nurture and protection. We are not talking about 10 year olds or anything extreme like that.

        You, nor the government, have a right to intrude in such personal matters where there is no proof of child abuse of any kind.

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      3. “Don’t you worry, Isabel. In this beautiful country, you can drag children into bed with you until adulthood, stuff food down their throats, go through their pockets, read their online correspondence, and everybody will applaud you. There is absolutely nothing to worry about.”

        Actually, not true. You are speaking out of ignorance. You missed most of that period, and it could easily happen again. And it is already happening with the drug war. In fact, that hysteria is what has largely driven the parental spying,

        The children were one and three in this case, not teenagers. Would you have wanted the authorities to take you and your sister away and allowed your parents two visits a year for force feeding you?

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        1. Again a weird jumble of unconnected things. What does the war on drugs have to do with what’s being discussed? I happen to know first-hand that in countries where drugs are not an issue many parents still deprive their children of any privacy. Drugs are always an excuse. If one wants to be abusive, one will, drugs or no drugs.

          And when did I suggest that my sister was force-fed by anybody? More careless reading.

          I find it incomprehensible why people are getting so angry about the topic. All I said is that I’d like to live in Norway. Yet, people are reacting like I announced my plans to run for president and transform this country into Norway.

          Weird.

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      4. Clarissa you said:
        “go through their pockets, read their online correspondence, ”

        and I said:

        “And it is already happening with the drug war. In fact, that hysteria is what has largely driven the parental spying”

        In other words, the parental spying that you brought up, in the comment I quoted right above my reply.

        Hopefully that helps.

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      5. “Force-feeding is very common and acceptable in my culture. As a result of this cute cultural tradition, I still have an eating disorder at 35.”

        Okay, would you have rather the authorities had taken you away from your family or whoever was force-feeding you and allowed them two visits a year until you were an adult?

        I don’t know how more carefully I can read your posts Clarissa. The above seems to imply that you were force-fed. Perhaps you have an eating disorder from just being in the culture, who knows? Maybe all the children in the Ukraine should have been transported to live with strangers in Norway.

        All I am saying is there has to be a better way. This seems a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

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        1. Of course, I would have preferred to be taken out of the abusive situation. Force-feeding doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There is a lot of other abuse that always accompanies it. It’s the proverbial tip of the iceberg, just like cosleeping.

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      6. Is that less “private” than people dragging their small children (who actually exist) into bed with them?(Clarissa)

        Lol, here goes Clarissa railing about the big, bad parents who sleep with their kids. Remember all you parents out there, if your child jumps into bed with you, kick them out, we wouldnt want them to have a lifetime of trauma, now would we? 😉

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    2. “Are parents in Norway expected to just give their children a spoon and let them fend for themselves?”

      I bet they just play airplanes. Make brrrm noises and fly the spoon all around until the baby smiles and opens his/her mouth, then you gently tilt in the Gerber. If you’re lucky, s/he’ll actually eat some of it.

      Or, since it’s Norway, replace “airplanes” with “whaling ships” and “Gerber” with “lutefisk”. Or maybe “brutal guitar” and “black metal pain”.

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      1. Only if your dad is Varg Vikernes. If he is, I feel sincerely sorry for you, yikes!
        Also, if anyone cares for an example of someone’s emotional state being negatively impacted by their parents being in their bed, I can volunteer. It’s not pretty.

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        1. I can volunteer, too. Now I need a team of psychoanalysts to repair the damage.

          If everything I write on this subject gets just one person to stop dragging a kid into his or her bad, just one person, this will already be a lot.

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      2. I don’t think anyone has to “drag” a very young child into bed with them. Weird that you are equating childcare of infants and care of 10 or 14-year olds. Yes, it would be weird to change your 10 year old’s diapers, or give your 14-year old a bath. I agree with you there.

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    1. Fads?? I’m sharing a deeply personal and traumatic issue that still tortures me today and that’s how you refer to it? It’s a “fad”? Are you always this cruel and cold-hearted when people share their traumas?

      Really, such unapologetic tactlessness is shocking to me. I’m sitting here quietly on my blog, sharing things that traumatized me and some people have the gall of saying this kind of rubbish.

      You really have to be a horrible person to do that.

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  3. bloggerclarissa :
    Don’t you worry, Isabel. In this beautiful country, you can drag children into bed with you until adulthood, stuff food down their throats, go through their pockets, read their online correspondence, and everybody will applaud you. There is absolutely nothing to worry about.
    I, however, can be excused for enjoying an article as to how this is done in order countries, can’t I? It offers me some relief after all those articles and blog posts about breastfeeding until age nine and invading adolescents’ privacy as great child-rearing practices. may I be allowed to have some small space of normalcy on my own blog?

    Government intrusion is a two way street Clarissa. You are the liberal equivalent of a social conservative. I would say something along the lines of “social progressive” who believes her views should be imposed on everyone regardless of whether they violate personal freedom and liberty. So, next time you criticize social conservatives, just remember you are the same but on the other side of the political spectrum.

    Also, nobody is questioning your right to express your opinion. This is your blog and you can do whatever you want with it.

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    1. I respect personal freedoms only as long as they concern oneself. Feel free to force-feed yourself all day long. Don’t, however, try to force that onto other human beings. You don’t have a “personal freedom” to violate another human being. Only yourself.

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      1. “Your rights end where my rights begin” and “My rights end where your rights begin” shouldn’t be empty slogans, they apply to how we conduct ourselves in everyday life.
        I think the problem people are having with this discussion is that they don’t see children as fully autonomous beings with rights, but extensions of their parents’ wills. How tragic.

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        1. “I think the problem people are having with this discussion is that they don’t see children as fully autonomous beings with rights, but extensions of their parents’ wills”

          – They do, actually. But only until these children actually get born. It is very telling that it’s always the same people who screech about the rights of the unborn and then get very puzzled by the idea of children’s rights. Tragic is exactly what it is.

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      2. bloggerclarissa :
        I respect personal freedoms only as long as they concern oneself. Feel free to force-feed yourself all day long. Don’t, however, try to force that onto other human beings. You don’t have a “personal freedom” to violate another human being. Only yourself.

        Are you also against parents washing their children because that is inappropriate touching?

        The case of personal freedom is different for a young child who still depends on the parents than it is for an older child or adult.

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  4. The article’s a little confusing to me.

    Just out of curiosity, what do you deem to be normal feeding practices for a one year old and a three year old?

    When they describe “hand-feeding”, I picture a very small kid sitting down at meal time with their food cut into small bits, where they pick the food up and put it into their mouths as much as possible (with a utensil or their hands), with the parents assisting and then stopping when the kid says no or otherwise indicates fullness.

    Basically, if the kid’s mastered putting food into his/her own mouth reasonably well (more of the food gets in them and not elsewhere under their own power), you’re not hand-feeding.

    I don’t picture the kid being strapped in, and forced to clean their plate. That’s a terrible idea. My mother made that mistake once when I was very young, like a toddler. I don’t remember this; I was told this by an aunt. I didn’t want to eat this last bite, and she finally stuffed the rice into my mouth. What she didn’t realize is that I wasn’t going to chew it, and I fell asleep with the food in my mouth, so it started dribbling out. Total pandemonium.

    The only time I ever shared a bed with a parent is when we all traveled as a family, and got one room with two beds, so I had to share it with my mother. Not fun. My brother got his own side bed because he kicked, and really kicked in his sleep.

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      1. So, hand-feeding = force feeding?

        Force feeding definitely sucks and I would never do that to a child. But I don’t know if that was the case in the article.

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  5. Also, what’s with this “wait until you have kids” stuff? What if I’m infertile and that’s the greatest tragedy of my life? Are people even thinking about how much they can hurt a person with such careless statements?

    I have a friend who had fertility issues and such comments always plunged her into a deep depression.

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  6. The problem is that the “authorities” are only human. And where do the children end up? Shuffled around to foster homes? Foster children are extremely vulnerable. Wouldn’t educational campaigns be better? I would support that. There is not an easy solution. Where does it stop? Many working class parents would be considered neglectful in various ways. They would undoubtedly be prosecuted more than over-controlling rich helicopter parents. What about parents who put a 3 or 4-year-old go to sleep in a lonely room away from the rest of the family, ignoring the child’s cries until they fall asleep?

    As far as my horrible cruelty, this wasn’t a post about your past, it was about your happiness that someone’s children were taken away and the parents granted two visits a year!

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    1. I agree completely that’s what we need here is a lot of discussion and education on these issues. Which is precisely what I’m doing here.

      The cruelty comment was not aimed at you. if it looks like it was, I apologize. Sometimes, comments are placed in weird trees by wordpress.

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      1. Oh, okay. I hope you know by now that I am pro-choice *and* care very deeply about the recognition of children as full human beings. I am just very wary about giving anyone the right to make these decisions because I have seen for myself how that power has been abused, often tragically.

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  7. Isabel :
    I don’t think anyone has to “drag” a very young child into bed with them. Weird that you are equating childcare of infants and care of 10 or 14-year olds. Yes, it would be weird to change your 10 year old’s diapers, or give your 14-year old a bath. I agree with you there.

    Exactly my point LOL

    There is no way not to invade the “privacy” or “personal freedom” of a 1 year old. How else would you wash him and change his diapers?

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    1. There are ways to invade the personal space of a two-day old infant, if that’s what one wants to do. My sister’s kid knew how to show that she wanted to be left alone at that age. Many parents choose not to notice, though. And they keep not noticing until their children are ready to retire.

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  8. I’m a bit lost on this one. I’ve seen people feed babies before and it didn’t seem like force feeding to me. There’s a difference between holding the food out and letting the child reach for it and trying to get them to eat something when they are turning their heads away from it right?

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  9. Clarissa, and Keith, I am very sorry to hear about your traumatic childhoods. There is a place for the government to intervene in child abuse. The government often does it badly. I don’t think that is a reason to say the government shouldn’t intervene, but a reason to take an interest in what these government agencies do, and to hold the government to account. And thank you both for sharing these painful parts of your lives. I think hearing the stories helps explain what the problems are, and why the status quo isn’t a satisfactory option.

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  10. I’ve got to admit, I’m a little bit confused. What’s terrible about having your children sleep in your bed? Maybe I can’t imagine it properly since I’ve never been in a situation, but it seems to me the only inconvenience would be having to find another place to masturbate.

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    1. I can’t take seriously any article that includes statements like “This crazy plague is much the same in all countries once they start building up their social services and train psychobabblers.”

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    1. The loss of children by Russian-speaking mothers to their foreign husbands is a different and a very serious issue. I don’t blog about it because I don’t think anybody would care but maybe I should.

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  11. Feeding a child by hand does not indicate force feeding any more than feeding them with a spoon. This is the wrong target for an attack on cultural relativism.

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    1. An Englishman, a Frenchman, a Norwegian, and a Swede escape a sinking ship in a dinghy with some other passengers. But the boat is overloaded and starts taking on water. The Englishman rises, cries, “Long live the Queen!” and valiantly throws himself overboard so that the others may live.

      But the boat is still taking on water. The Frenchman stands, puffs out his chest, cries, “Vive le France!” and leaps into the water.

      But the boat is still sinking. So now it’s the Norwegian’s turn. He stands, sets his jaw, his eye glints with determination. Without further pause he grabs the Swede by the shirt and hurls him overboard with the cry, “God bless Norway!”

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  12. I think the problem people are having with this discussion is that they don’t see children as fully autonomous beings with rights, but extensions of their parents’ wills. How tragic.(Nomin…..)

    That is probably because at certain ages they are NOT autonomous. Without parental or some kind of adult to take care of them, POOF, their dead.

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    1. “That is probably because at certain ages they are NOT autonomous. ”

      – But the goal is to teach them to be autonomous, right? And one of the crucial elements of personal autonomy is learning to be on your own. Do I need to explain why?

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      1. Lol, well, we all have some kind of f….. up parenting stories. I tease my daughter all the time by saying, honey, save it for your psychotherapist when you are 30. For now just clean your room. 😉

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        1. “I tease my daughter all the time by saying, honey, save it for your psychotherapist when you are 30. For now just clean your room. ”

          – Knowing how to clean you space is sign of a very healthy psyche, so I’m with you on that. 🙂 🙂

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  13. bloggerclarissa :
    Why is it always the same old “the kid made me do it and I couldn’t kick him out”? Argument? It’s delivered in the same words across cultures and languages. Creepy.

    No Clarissa, what is creepy is the fact that because of your negative experience you think that is the same for all individuals. That is just a tad jaded, dont ya think?

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    1. “No Clarissa, what is creepy is the fact that because of your negative experience you think that is the same for all individuals. That is just a tad jaded, dont ya think?”

      – This has nothing to do with my negative experience. I have explained in detail why this is a pernicious practice in a separate post. Not a single person has been able to refute a single one of my arguments about personal space and sexual awakening. You are the one who tries to push this into the realm of the personal. I speak from the place of logic and reason.

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  14. Ok, wel,l you have your view(slightly distorted from my perspective) and I and my child have our view(reasonable and logical). So lets agree that we are both right and both wrong depending on who’s looking, ok? 😉

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  15. To me, this looks like a textbook case of ‘gummint to brown people, you’re doing it wrong.’ First of all, legal definitions sometimes don’t equal the actual actions. ‘Handfeeding” does not neccesarily mean that they stuff food down the kid’s throats until they resemble a french goose- and the government isn’t alleging that that’s what happened here. Secondly, small children need huge amounts of parental contact. Three and one year-olds hate being alone and the parents probably just found it easier to give up some privacy rather than being fussed at all night. And children that young shouldn’t be removed from parental custody unless their lives would be endangered by staying with their parents.

    In my opinion, if the parents had been white, the kids would still be at home where they belong. You have a ridiculously loose definition of abuse, and that’s skewing your perception of the case. Or perhaps you believe that children under three are autonomous enough to be able to take care of themselves if they were left at home alone, in which case, you are vastly overestimating toddlers.

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    1. “Secondly, small children need huge amounts of parental contact.”

      – What’s the point of such useless generalizations, especially in a thread where I already discussed a baby I happen to know in person who made it crystal clear in the cradle that her needs for contact were a lot smaller than those of her parents? Read parenting sites and you will find out how many small kids like that exist and how their parents, disappointed that they don’t have “a cuddly baby” force contact onto those poor kids. And I’m not even talking about autistic kids who are tortured by the “parental contact” they abhor and that is being inflicted upon them.

      “You have a ridiculously loose definition of abuse”

      – Try to control yourself, shall you? I have no use for these fits of hysteria, as I said many times before.

      “Three and one year-olds hate being alone and the parents probably just found it easier to give up some privacy rather than being fussed at all night. ”

      – It is not one;s place to “give up” somebody else’s privacy. A 3-year-old who “hates being alone” has already been turned into a little neurotic by needy and irresponsible mommy and daddy. We have already discussed here that learning to be on one’s own is a crucial skill. Parents who invade their kid’s space insistently and obnoxiously, rob the poor child of this crucial skill.

      “Or perhaps you believe that children under three are autonomous enough to be able to take care of themselves if they were left at home alone, in which case, you are vastly overestimating toddlers.”

      – How many times have I asked you not to ascribe your weird beliefs to me? Please stop doing that. It’s annoying.

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  16. It is very positive that the blog takes an interest in the way the Child Protection Service (CPS) operates in Norway. But a long series of musings over what people believe or speculate may be wrong with the Bhattacharya parents is really beside the point: There is nothing wrong with the parents. The commenters here should not be so sure that the Norwegian government and their CPS are truthful. I recommend spending some time reading, on e.g:

    http://forum.r-v-b.net (There is a section in English too)
    http://nkmr.org (likewise)
    http://www.barnasrett.no (likewise)

    I have written somthing myself about this particular case, e.g
    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article2842917.ece
    http://www.pravasitoday.com/the-curious-case-of-child-protection-in-norway-2

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