Moving to be Near Ex

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Unhappy Overseas Move to be with Daughter

January 2003

I recently moved to Norway to join my family after two years and a half of separation. My wife is Norwegian and my daughter is American, unfortunately things are not going well here. First of all, I came to help her with the responsabilities of our four year old daughter who is brain damaged and needs a lot of help with her developing. Luckily she is walking, understands Norwegian words but she can not talk.Therefore SIGN LANGUAGE is our bridge of comunication between our daughter and us. Last Tuesday after an argue my wife told me to leave the house and she wants me to find a new place to leave because I do not things like she wants me to do and I also take a lot of her time to help me to settle down in this country where I do not have anybody else but my family and my wife's family.She also said she is NOT IN LOVE with me becuse I am 10 pounds overweight and I do not dress up like Norwegian guys.I do not speak Norwegian plus I do not have much money to move out and it is quite difficult to find a job here if you do not speak the language!!

I do not what to do but if I should go back to the US where I had a good job but I know I will miss my daughter so much that I creates a lot of pain in me when I do not see her.On the other hand I do not want to be this MISERABLE for the rest of my life.I have a permit to stay here in Norway until May 2003 so I really need to think about it very carefully! I will appreciatte your sugestions and if you need more information of my situation I will be happy to provide you guys and thanks for giving me the option of talking to someone about my situation. Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon! Jose

Jose, It sounds like during the 2 1/2 years you have been seperated from your wife you have grown apart. She may be upset that you were out of their lives for that long and she had to take care of your daughter by herself. You could either move out and try and get a job there(learn Norwegian)and continue to visit with your daughter. Hopefully, your wife will get over whatever issues she has right now. OR come back to the US, get a better job, send money for your daughter and scheduled visits as often as possible. MOVE ON BB

It sounds like you are experiencing a crisis, but this may be just a temporary setback. Don't give up! It's very hard to adjust to a new country, and it doesn't sound like you have much support. But it will get better. You will learn the language, and you will be able to be more help for your wife. And she may have spoken rashly when she said she didn't love you. If she was being honest, then maybe you won't be together, but you should be there for your daughter, and she should help you do that. Keep trying. vm

Dear Jose, Unfortunately I think you are going to need to turn to the massive and complex Norwegian bureaucracy in order to inform yourself about your rights and your daughter's. This will be easiest if you have a friend who speaks Norwegian and is familiar with the Norwegian system. If not, it will still be possible to pursue information, but it will be more difficult. You didn't say where you are living. It would perhaps be easiest to either 1) approach a lawyer, preferably one who has dealt with immigrant as well as family issues or 2) go to the communal (county) government offices that deal with child welfare and family issues. If you are in Oslo, for instance, the name of the county is Oslo kommune, and there is a department called Barn og familievern. They deal with family and child welfare (in the broader sense) issues. There is also a big government website,, which gives a list of various emne (subjects) covered by the government at various levels. You should look on the list for Barn og familievern (child and family welfare), Familie, foreldre og barn (Family, parents, and children), and innvandere (immigrants). I think that the communal level offices would be the best place to start, however. Children (even, I think, those who do not hold Norwegian citizenship) have lots of protection and rights in Norway, and so it would be important to inform yourself about these and about your ongoing status in the country and as a parent. Good luck! Linda

You are in a very difficult situation. It is really hard to be in a country where you know only a few people and don't know the language or the customs or even where to go to get some help. I commend you for trying to make it work out for your daughter's sake. I hope your wife will be willing to go to marriage counseling with you; if not, you could go for counseling by yourself.

What you need is a friend, or a person who can advocate for you with your wife and also help you navigate your way in Norwegian society. Perhaps you will find help through your posting in this e-tree; or perhaps you will find this through counseling.

Other things you can do are to immerse yourself in learning Norwegian, and adapt yourself to the ways people do things there. You will have to do this on your own because it seems that your wife doesn't want to do it with you. If your wife is unhappy because of how you take care of or interact with your daughter, think about what might be valid about her criticisms and what you can do better. Her comments about your appearance seem trivial and possibly cover up some deeper unhappiness with you and your relationship with her.

I'm sorry you are having such a sad and difficult time. I hope you get the help you need. Louise