Biological father's attorney breaks silence in battle for SC toddler
ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - For weeks, WBTV has been trying to piece together every side of a South Carolina toddler's multi-faceted adoption case. There two sides and countless opinions.
Braelynn was just three weeks old when she went to live with foster parents, Edward and Tammy Dalsing. Her biological mother, Erica Smith, gave up her parental rights after a struggle with drug addiction.
Before Braelynn was born, her biological father, Andrew Myers, went to prison for fraud and while he was serving time his parental rights were terminated after a judge determined Myers had not done enough to provide for Braelynn.
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But in December, Myers' rights were reinstated after the South Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Myers had attempted to be there for Braelynn while he was incarcerated.
The story has made national headlines and Monday, Andrew Myers' attorney, Nathan Sheldon told WBTV Braelynn's fate shouldn't be about opinion. It should rest only with court facts.
"It's fair to say it's disappointing that this child is being plastered all over the national news," Sheldon said.
Although he's disappointed, Sheldon admits he's not surprised this case has struck a chord with so many. To him, there's no question where Braelynn should be.
"I don't think there's any question that family is important and that's been our position from day one. If parental rights aren't terminated. That child needs to be returned to the parent. That's what needs to happen... Mr. Myers has tried from day one to get this child," he said.
Whether Myers tried "from day one" is what's in question. But Sheldon says the family had fought for the child to live with Myers' mother from the start.
"Throughout the case, the plan was while he was incarcerated to do everything we could to move this child to a relative," he said.
The Dalsings say they haven't just "taken a child". Instead, that a judge legally made them the adoptive parents and the biological mother consented.
They've asked for a re-hearing with Court of Appeals which could come any day now, as Braelynn continues to live with them.
Sheldon says what's important is the law, which he believes stands with his client.
"It isn't the law that any family can just take a child because that child is better off with them than it is another family," Sheldon said.
The Dalsings have started a website and petition: www.savebraelynn.com.
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