Veteran fighting to regain custody of children after being deployed

Credit: News 13

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A military mother spent years fighting for her country and for her children.

Amanda Hurst joined the United States Army to build a better life for her and her children.

When she found out that she was being deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, she left her two children with her stepmother.

At the time, her kids were just 7-years-old and 8-years-old.

While in the Middle East, she fought in Afghanistan and Iraq.

After returning home, she was faced with another battle.

Just before being honorably discharged in 2013, Hurst says her stepmother moved to New Jersey with the children.

Because of the children’s special needs, Hurst says they ended up in the care of New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families.

Hurst learned that her daughter had discipline issues and her son became aggressive toward his step-grandmother, which caused the state to take custody of them.

Both remain in foster care.

“I want my kids back. I wanna be with my kids. I’ve missed so much of their lives serving my country that I don’t wanna miss anymore,” Hurst told News 13.

According to court documents, New Jersey agrees that the children belong with their mother, but there are conditions.

“The condition is that the emergency services being provided by New Jersey continue on here in Florida, ’cause the children do need special services,” said Brad Sherman, Hurst’s lawyer.

While it seems like a simple request, getting to this point has taken years.

“I hope that one day when they are older, they understand that mom didn’t give up,” she said.

A hearing is scheduled this week to determine when and if Hurst’s children will return home to Florida.

A spokesman for the department says they are working with authorities in Florida to bring the children home.

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