- Associated Press - Friday, March 3, 2017

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina couple pledges to continue fighting to keep their adopted 3-year-old daughter after the state Court of Appeals ruled for her biological father.

WBTV reports Friday (https://bit.ly/2mioaZp ) the state Court of Appeals denied Tammy and Edward Dalsing’s request for a rehearing.

Braelynn tested positive for drugs as an infant in 2013. The Dalsings began fostering her when she was 3 weeks old and adopted her in September 2015 after Braelynn’s biological mother gave up her parental rights.

But the Court of Appeals overturned the adoption in December, saying a family court judge should not have terminated the parental rights of Braelynn’s biological father while he was in prison for fraud. The ruling came a month after Andrew Myers was released on parole from a Virginia prison. He had turned himself in to authorities in Maryland before Braelynn was born, according to court documents.

“I’ve got my life together, and there is no reason she shouldn’t be able to come home to me,” Myers, who lives in Virginia, told CBS News last month. “I appreciate they took care of her and gave her a loving home and all, but I really think it’s time she came home to her real family.”

Braelynn’s biological mother, who has visited her at the Dalsings’ home, told WBTV she disagrees with the ruling.

The Union County judge who ended Myers’ rights said he made no effort to establish or maintain a relationship with Braelynn, including not paying child support. But in affirming its decision Wednesday, the appeals court said Myers did try repeatedly to contact Braelynn while in prison.

The Dalsings say they will take their case to the state Supreme Court.

“Why pull her out of where she is? She’s happy. She’s healthy - and he can be a part of that,” Tammy Dalsing said. “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.”

Myers’ attorney, Nathan Sheldon, called it “extremely unfortunate” that the Dalsings publicized a case that should have remained private.

“The social media footprint that has been created by the defeated party in this case will forever haunt this child,” he said in a written statement last month. “It is extremely selfish and will never be in the best interest of any child.”

While Myers is Braelynn’s biological father, Edward Dalsing says he’s her dad. The Dalsings’ other children include Braelynn’s biological half-sister.

“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 Dalsing said.

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