ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) – Tammy and Edward Dalsing have a tough time holding it together when talking about the little girl they believe is theirs. The couple started fostering Braelynn when she was three-weeks-old. She’s now almost 4.
More than a year ago, Braelynn was adopted by the Dalsings after the child’s biological mother gave up her parental rights. At the time, Braelynn’s father, Andrew Myers, was serving time in prison for fraud. His rights were terminated originally because a judge didn’t find sufficient evidence that he tried to support his child.
In December, one month after Myers’ release, a South Carolina Court of Appeals overturned Braelynn’s adoption, saying Myers’ rights should have never been terminated.
Braelynn continued to live with the Dalsings as they anxiously requested a re-hearing. But Wednesday, the Court of Appeals denied that request and issued a more detailed opinion which offered more insight into why they believe Myers did attempt to be a part of Braelynn’s life while he was incarcerated.
One day later, WBTV asked the Dalsings if they’ve thought about Braelynn leaving them.
“It’s going to be like losing one of your kids to a death because we know, we’ve been told, we won’t have contact with them,” Edward said.
There’s no denying Braelynn thinks Tammy and Edward are her mom and dad. She’s never met Myers and has spent a limited amount of time visiting his mother.
“Why now? Why pull her out of where she is? She’s happy. She’s healthy – and he can be apart of that,” Tammy said.
The court’s latest opinion states Myers tried to contact Braelynn repeatedly while he was incarcerated. The Dalsings dispute many of the new claims and the state’s stance on reunification.
“Reunification means there was a unit there to begin with and they were never a family unit, and she has never been there. She’s never lived with him. She’s never even met him,” Tammy said.
Last month, Myers appeared for the first time on national television. He stated it was time for Braelynn to come home and live with her family.
“To sit there and listen to him say it’s time for her to come live with her real family. OK – he’s blood. He is her biological father and always will be. I cannot take that away. But, I’m her dad,” Edward said.
The couple will now take their fight to the South Carolina Supreme Court and to Washington if they have to. They say they’ll exhaust every effort to keep their little girl with them and their other children she calls her brothers and sisters.
“It’s not in Braelynn’s best interest for us to walk away. And that’s what this is about. It’s about Braelynn,” Tammy said.
WBTV asked Myers’ attorney, Nathan Sheldon, if he had a comment for this story and he simply pointed to the court’s latest opinion.
The Dalsings have started a petition for Braelynn that now has over 7,000 signatures. You can find it here.