Community rallies in custody battle

By Mark Meredith - bio | email

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WMBF) - Members of a Grand Strand church have pulled together to support one parishioner's efforts to bring her children back to the United States. Amy Smith, a North Carolina native, is in a custody battle with her Canadian husband to bring her kids back to the United States.

"I don't have my kids to hold, when it's thundering outside" said Smith. Last week, Chick-Fil-A in North Myrtle Beach hosted a fundraiser for the mother. Smith claims her children were wrongfully taken by her estranged husband.

"It's called wrongful retention, you can't keep a parent from their children" said Smith. The two boys are currently living with their father in Canada. Smith has been fighting in the Canadian courts to bring the boys home, but the financial burden has proven to be costly.

"I was at my wits end, being one person and having to handle two different countries" said Smith. Friends and Family at the Beulah Baptist Church have formed a non-profit organization in an effort to help pay Smith's legal costs.

"So far we've been successful in raising money" said Edie Caudill, the Vice President of the non-profit organization. "I think once her case is heard, how there could be any other outcome than the boys coming home" said Caudill.

The two boys, aged 5 and 7, have been in Canada since early 2008. Smith has been working with the U.S. State Department and the American embassy in Canada but so far has not proved successful. Smith claims her husband has no right to the children but that after a judge hears her case, she'll be able to bring the boys back to the United States.

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