An American Child Kidnapped in Norway

Amy and Child

[Photo from Step up 4 Children’s Rights YouTube video.]

This week, Amy Jakobsen received news every loving parent dreads: the courts have officially “released” her son “for adoption.”

Amy is an American citizen who was living in Norway in July of 2013, when her troubles all began.

Amy’s Story

As a first-time mother, Amy grew concerned when her son, Tyler, was a little below the growth curve at his checkup. He didn’t seem ready to move to solid food yet and was content to continue breast feeding exclusively. As a concerned mother, Amy “took Tyler for medical check-ups three times a month in order to monitor the growth process very closely,” according to an article at

When summer came, Amy continued to monitor the 19-month-old’s health, while taking him on a two-week vacation to America. (Tyler was born in Norway.) She never imagined that as soon as she returned she would be facing the police and Norway’s child welfare service, the “Barnevernet.”

(The word “barnevernet” literally means “child protection,” though their reputation or a quick internet search might reasonably lead one to guess it was Norwegian for “Gestapo.”)

The case workers demanded that Tyler be taken immediately to the hospital for an examination, where they found that his weight was 9.6 kg—lower than the ideal weight for his age of 10 kg, but still within the acceptable range. (For those unfamiliar with kilograms, this is a difference of less than a pound!) But this slightly lower weight, combined with a doctor’s criticism that Amy was still breastfeeding, was enough for the Barnevernet to sweep the boy away from his mother, ultimately forever.

Faced with the loss of his son, Tyler’s father, Kevin, snuck into the hospital dressed as a doctor and was able to remove his son. With no other plan, and the Barnevernet breathing down his neck, all he could do was drive aimlessly for a few extra hours with his baby before police caught him and took his son back for good. Neither parent has seen Tyler since September 2014.

Since that time, the boy’s name has been changed twice to keep his parents from finding out where he is. Kevin is considered an abduction risk for the extra time he spent with his son, and Amy has been labelled a risk simply because she is an American.

The parents and their many allies have exhausted every legal avenue in Norway to get Tyler home. The European Court of Human Rights recently urged (in an unrelated September 6 ruling) that child removal should only be a temporary measure, but even that opinion has been ignored by Norway’s courts.

And now the court has made its final ruling: Tyler will not be coming home. Barnevernet is free to give him away to someone else.

No charge of abuse. No evidence of neglect. No offer of assistance or effort to keep the family intact.

Perhaps the trip to America back in 2013 made Barnevernet nervous that they might lose Tyler to the States. The organization certainly has a history of taking children from foreign parents just as they are preparing to leave the country. (It is also under investigation for numerous parental rights and human rights violations and for additional forms of corruption.)

Don’t Let It Happen Here!

This is what unchecked power in the “child welfare” system looks like. There are places one can find this in American today, as well. But if we don’t want to see it in the everyday as in Norway—even more, if we would see it stopped altogether—we must stand now to preserve parental rights and halt the erosion of our families and our rights.

That’s where comes in. We are working with a bipartisan coalition to change the federal laws that influence how our own child welfare organizations operate. And we are working on the ultimate solution, the Parental Rights Amendment (PRA) to the U.S. Constitution.

By demanding constitutional respect for and protection of parents’ fundamental rights to raise their children (and a child’s corresponding right to his parent’s protection), the proposed PRA will make certain the tactics used by the Barnevernet never become commonplace in the United States as they have in Norway. By putting these protections in the text of the U.S. Constitution, we can ensure they will protect parents in every state, and that they will endure for generations to come.

Please partner with us today to continue our effort to protect our children from the kind of “child protection” the Barnevernet stands for.


Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

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  1. […] may have seen the story in our email or on our social media posts. Amy, an American citizen, lost custody of her son for no other reason […]