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United States: Serbian Couple Struggles to Get Children Back

A U.S.-based Serbian couple Vuk and Verica Nastic have been going through hell since June 2010, when the U.S. Child Protection Agency (CPA) took away their children, son Damjan, 8, and daughter Nastasija, 5, because of alleged negligence and sexual abuse.

According to the Serbian media reports, the drama began when pictures of Vuk's naked children were found on his laptop, after which the police and CPA representatives burst into Nastic’s house in California. They handcuffed Vuk and Verica and took them to prison, while the children were sent to live with a Mexican and, later, an Arab foster family.

Eventually, Vuk Nastic was released on $18,000 bail; his wife was released six days later.

According to a statement issued by the Nastic family, it had been little Damjan who took the photos while playing with the camera, while his parents were downstairs.

On Sept. 1, the Nastic family's attorneys and the CPA signed a deal, according to which the Nastics were guilty of negligence (because they allowed their children to use the camera), while the other charges were eliminated.

The Nastics have engaged a team of Serbian psychologists, who sent a letter to the California court explaining cultural differences between Serbia and the United States: “In our culture children are perceived as completely asexual and it isn’t unusual that they take baths with their parents. It is nothing unusual that they are photographed and I believe that everyone has in their family album their own naked photo (as a child), or their child’s. It does not produce any erotic feeling, they are just perceived as little kids.”

Members of the Facebook group “Podrska porodici Nastic – Support to the Nastic family” call people to post their own naked childhood pictures as a way of public defiance. Some have posted photos of their own children.

Marina Markovic posted three childhood pictures of herself:

Me when I was 6 months old, and 4 years old…

She also posted a mock warning about a YouTube video of two American children who were recorded in a bathtub.

Dubravka Grmuša Hoe explained:

They are not only naked, but they are also playing with plastic cutlery in the water that they had probably pissed into. Just imagine what would happen if they slipped (because I did not notice a cloth or something similar under their butts) and swallowed a knife and a fork. The parents should have been imprisoned [for this]. But they are “American” parents…

Boni Macanovic shared an experience similar to that of the Nastic family:

I've lived in the USA for 20 years, and at one point they could have taken my children. They arrested my wife because she had brought the children to the edge a Metro platform, showing them what the rails looked like. They let her out the same night because the prosecutor dismissed the case as unfounded, but social “workers” besieged the house for a few days until I called a lawyer from “Civil Rights.” We paid them about $850 and they threatened them (the social service), after which the case was closed. [...]

Mira Popovic-Keser was not surprised by the story, but she could not hide her own bad feelings:

Really horrible! It would be difficult to find a photo album in Serbia and the former Yugoslavia without such pictures, especially when sons have been born. Dads are proud of the children! But on this American continent you risk a lot even if you stroke your own child, let alone those of other people… Sick and perverted people, without emotions, fears… Serbia would definitely have to get involved in this case [...] to protect the Nastic family.

After six months of silence, the Serbian highest authorities did indeed get involved.

The Serbian President Boris Tadic personally engaged in solving this problem, treating it as a problem of the highest diplomatic level. Vuk Nastic wrote a letter of gratitude to the President.

At the same time, people who think that photographing naked children should not be called culture and tradition also reacted.

Natasa23 wrote:

It is not known exactly when and what happened, but if a little 7-year-old boy is photogrpahing his 4-year-old sister while bathing in a tub in the presence of the father, it is not normal for me and it is far from the culture.

CHRISTINEAMNOTTE asked this at the SerbianCafe forum:

Where have you seen in Serbia or ex-Yugoslavia a big boy who takes pictures of his naked sister and parents who take pictures of naked big boys? We all have 1-2 pictures when we were naked as babies, taken by our parents while we were bathing in the little plastic tray, but taking pictures as grown-up children is not normal. It seems the “cultural difference” is not exactly like that.

  • http://mckniffj@yahoo.com joan mckniff

    If the parents think that the USA issuch a horrible, repressed,perverted place why are they here? why are they staying here? i don’t believe the children were brought to a Mexican family then an Arab family. They went to two American families, one of Mexican heritage, the other Arab heritage.

    • mihajlo

      These parents already want to leave USA, but of course together with their children. Did you have normal childhood (growing up with mama and papa)? This question is only to bring you to the level of reality

    • MIlos

      For your information, Serbs are not just filthy immigrants in the US, since Serbs were helping US to become what it is today, Serbs who were living there for centuries, side by side with others from Europe. A few million of Serbs, to be more precise, among others Nikola Tesla, Pupin, Milutin Milankovic, and many others. Vuk Kostic is working on PHD if I am not wrong and helping US to prosper. When speaking about families where the children are(were), you have to know that both those cultures are totally foreign to Serbian one which is, for so young children, huge shock and stress.

  • Karol K.

    US and Canadian family court systems are completly taken over by criminal organisation called AFCC (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts).
    AFCC criminals are using CPS (Child Protection Services) in US or CAS (Children Aid Societies) in Canada) to steal kids from wealthy families and than they use stolen kids as hostages in shake down scams that they run in Family courts in US and in Canada. In one recent case in Canada AFCC crooks ripped off senior pilot with Air Canada for over half a million dollars in legal costs (family court trial for father’s right to see his own daughter).
    See:
    http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2007/2007canlii20279/2007canlii20279.html

    Serbian government is already paying ransom to AFCC crooks by paying American lawyer (members of AFCC) for his “efforts” to get Nastic’s children back from other AFCC members working for CPS.
    See current list of AFCC members at:
    http://tinyurl.com/afcc-directory.

  • http://thiidiots dragan

    this is craizy serbian ther are idiots they sliping togather in one bad they dont care they have sex togather they are very stupid people

  • http://www.kitandnancy.com Nancy Hey

    In my experience, most cultures in Europe are much less prudish about sex and nudity than here in the US, where it’s considered something “dirty”. Besides, all parents like to have nude pictures of their children, it is not sexual, the kids just look cute! CPS is way out of control, and I think they probably just took advantage of this couple because they were immigrants.

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