"It's My Baby Too!": Bryce and Esther"

An Obscure Law

"I met Bryce during church service," Esther remembers. "We saw each other at least three or four times a week."

"I was 34; she was 19," Bryce says. "We'd been seeing each other about three weeks and found out she was pregnant."

Bryce's mother, Chris, says, "When they told me that they were pregnant, of course I was shocked. I was happy because they were happy."

Esther's father, Dylane, had a different experience. "The hardest moment for me was to find out Esther was pregnant," he says.

"Our communication was severed after she told her dad," Bryce says.

"Bryce called me four to five times a day," Esther says. "His phone calls were obnoxious, so I finally just told him I was getting an abortion, but I just said that so he would shut up. I was going to adopt her out."

Esther's mother, Vada, says, "I knew where the baby was going. The family is a wonderful family."

"The baby is not with her family," Chris says.

"My daughter was given away at five days old against my will. This violates my constitutional right as a father," Bryce says. He decided to get an attorney. "The judge basically said he was disgusted with the whole situation and gave me visitations immediately."

"The judge said, ‘You can have two-hour visitations once a week,'" Dylane says. "We demanded supervised visitations."

"It was devastating," Chris says. "One four-hour visit with Bryce, and the baby and myself."

"She was only a month-and-a-half old, and I heard her crying," Bryce says, fighting back tears. 

That was the last time Bryce got to hold his child because of a law he knew nothing about. In some states, unwed fathers-to-be are required to establish paternity with the Putative Fathers Registry. Esther's attorney, Susan Steves, explains, "They have to file a notice with the state of Oregon, saying, ‘I believe I am the father of a baby that hasn't been born yet.'"

"Now they're expecting me to go to law school in order to be a dad?" Bryce asks. 

Bryce's attorney, Foster Glass, explains another part of the law. "My client would've had to try to contribute money within one year of the conception," he says. The judge ruled that it couldn't be proved that Bryce offered child support, and his verbal offerings did not count. 

 

Bryce says he tried several times to contact Esther, so he could send money for the baby, but she refused to take his calls. "That's where the big shocker came," Bryce says. "The judge decided since I did not contribute " even though I was shut out, even though I offered to give money " I lost my rights as a father."

"I had broken up with Bryce because I had stayed the night at his house one night, and he wanted sex before he went to work. I didn't want to," Esther explains. "He blocked me from leaving the room. I said, ‘Let me out.' He grabbed my stomach. He said, ‘I want that baby out of you, and I want it dead.'"


"I definitely did not say that I wanted my child dead," Bryce says. "I offered to marry her."

"Bryce is a compulsive liar," she says. "Bryce did not tell me that he was still married."

"I admit, I should've been honest about that," he says. "I do love Esther. I totally believe that Esther will come back to me someday, and she's going to thank me for not giving up."

"It was an abusive relationship. I feel proud I was able to end something before it got too deep," she says. "Bryce should not have any rights to his daughter. I don't think that he's mentally stable."

"How did we get into this mess, Esther?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I'm not sure. We met at the saloon. I thought he was an attractive young man, and he, obviously, thought I was an attractive young girl," she says.

 

Dr. Phil notes their 15-year age difference, then asks, "You had sex unprotected? Repeatedly?"


"Yes," Esther says. 

Dr. Phil turns to Bryce. "You're a grown man. You know better than this. Did you want to get her pregnant?"


"No, I didn't," he says. "It wasn't the right thing to do, and I know that."

 

"Who seduced whom here? You seduced him," Dr. Phil says to Esther.

"Yes," she says.

"Without protection."

"Yes." 

Dr. Phil is perplexed. "Did y'all miss that day in Sex Ed class where, if there's no protection, you get pregnant?" At the pair's silence, Dr. Phil says, "See, this is important to me because it's the origin of how we got where we are."

"I realize that," Bryce says. "It was a stupid choice to make. It was made, but I cannot change it. It was wrong, and it shouldn't have been done that way."

Bryce was in a halfway house transitioning out of rehab when he and Esther met. Dr. Phil points out, "One of the things they say in rehab is to not get into a relationship for at least a year."

"Exactly. And I was trying not to," Bryce says.

 

Dr. Phil asks Esther, "What were you doing in a halfway house?"

"I didn't know what a halfway house was, and when he had specified to me that it was a recovery home, I was proud of him," she says. "I thought he's trying to get back on his feet, so I pursued the relationship."

When they discovered Esther was pregnant, Bryce says he offered to marry Esther.

"Did you want to marry him?" Dr. Phil asks Esther.

"For the child's sake, yes," she admits.

"Well, if you wanted to, and you wanted to, then why aren't we married?" Dr. Phil asks both of them.

"I was actually still legally married, even though I'd been away from my wife for eight, almost nine years," Bryce explains. "I needed to clear up that from the past."

"Yeah, that's something you'd want to clear up," Dr. Phil agrees.  

"So what we have here is the other side trying to use what they see as a loophole in the law to give the child away before the father has even the opportunity to know of the child or try to contribute," Foster says.

"I do not feel that I took Bryce's rights away," Esther says.

"All I know is what's happening here is wrong. This law is so twisted up," Bryce says. "It's not only my will, it is my legal right. This is about war. I'm fighting for my daughter."

 

"I don't think that he's going to let this stop until he's had his way. Bryce is selfish, belligerent and immature. He needs to stop acting like a child and accept the fact that the laws are the laws," Esther says. "I think that he's an unfit father. He doesn't have a driver's license. While he was living in a halfway home, he was drinking. I felt like the baby deserved more."

"Yeah, I've had DUIs, and I made bad choices," Bryce admits, "but I'm sober now."

"He tricks people into believing that he's this wonderful Christian when he's this scary guy who is abusive verbally and was abusive physically," Esther says. "I slept with him to please him."

"I wasn't abusing Esther in any way," Bryce argues. "She sexually abused me. She wanted to have sex. I don't believe in premarital sex. After I found out she was pregnant, I wasn't really sure that it was mine," he admits.  

"I had broken up with Bryce because I had stayed the night at his house one night, and he wanted sex before he went to work. I didn't want to," Esther explains. "He blocked me from leaving the room. I said, ‘Let me out.' He grabbed my stomach. He said, ‘I want that baby out of you, and I want it dead.'"


"I definitely did not say that I wanted my child dead," Bryce says. "I offered to marry her."

"Bryce is a compulsive liar," she says. "Bryce did not tell me that he was still married."

"I admit, I should've been honest about that," he says. "I do love Esther. I totally believe that Esther will come back to me someday, and she's going to thank me for not giving up."

"It was an abusive relationship. I feel proud I was able to end something before it got too deep," she says. "Bryce should not have any rights to his daughter. I don't think that he's mentally stable."

"How did we get into this mess, Esther?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I'm not sure. We met at the saloon. I thought he was an attractive young man, and he, obviously, thought I was an attractive young girl," she says.

 

Dr. Phil notes their 15-year age difference, then asks, "You had sex unprotected? Repeatedly?"


"Yes," Esther says. 

Dr. Phil turns to Bryce. "You're a grown man. You know better than this. Did you want to get her pregnant?"


"No, I didn't," he says. "It wasn't the right thing to do, and I know that."

 

"Who seduced whom here? You seduced him," Dr. Phil says to Esther.

"Yes," she says.

"Without protection."

"Yes." 

Dr. Phil is perplexed. "Did y'all miss that day in Sex Ed class where, if there's no protection, you get pregnant?" At the pair's silence, Dr. Phil says, "See, this is important to me because it's the origin of how we got where we are."

"I realize that," Bryce says. "It was a stupid choice to make. It was made, but I cannot change it. It was wrong, and it shouldn't have been done that way."

Bryce was in a halfway house transitioning out of rehab when he and Esther met. Dr. Phil points out, "One of the things they say in rehab is to not get into a relationship for at least a year."

"Exactly. And I was trying not to," Bryce says.

 

Dr. Phil asks Esther, "What were you doing in a halfway house?"

"I didn't know what a halfway house was, and when he had specified to me that it was a recovery home, I was proud of him," she says. "I thought he's trying to get back on his feet, so I pursued the relationship."

When they discovered Esther was pregnant, Bryce says he offered to marry Esther.

"Did you want to marry him?" Dr. Phil asks Esther.

"For the child's sake, yes," she admits.

"Well, if you wanted to, and you wanted to, then why aren't we married?" Dr. Phil asks both of them.

"I was actually still legally married, even though I'd been away from my wife for eight, almost nine years," Bryce explains. "I needed to clear up that from the past."

"Yeah, that's something you'd want to clear up," Dr. Phil agrees.  

"I met Bryce during church service," Esther remembers. "We saw each other at least three or four times a week."

"I was 34; she was 19," Bryce says. "We'd been seeing each other about three weeks and found out she was pregnant."

Bryce's mother, Chris, says, "When they told me that they were pregnant, of course I was shocked. I was happy because they were happy."

Esther's father, Dylane, had a different experience. "The hardest moment for me was to find out Esther was pregnant," he says.

"Our communication was severed after she told her dad," Bryce says.

"Bryce called me four to five times a day," Esther says. "His phone calls were obnoxious, so I finally just told him I was getting an abortion, but I just said that so he would shut up. I was going to adopt her out."

Esther's mother, Vada, says, "I knew where the baby was going. The family is a wonderful family."

"The baby is not with her family," Chris says.

"My daughter was given away at five days old against my will. This violates my constitutional right as a father," Bryce says. He decided to get an attorney. "The judge basically said he was disgusted with the whole situation and gave me visitations immediately."

"The judge said, ‘You can have two-hour visitations once a week,'" Dylane says. "We demanded supervised visitations."

"It was devastating," Chris says. "One four-hour visit with Bryce, and the baby and myself."

"She was only a month-and-a-half old, and I heard her crying," Bryce says, fighting back tears. 

That was the last time Bryce got to hold his child because of a law he knew nothing about. In some states, unwed fathers-to-be are required to establish paternity with the Putative Fathers Registry. Esther's attorney, Susan Steves, explains, "They have to file a notice with the state of Oregon, saying, ‘I believe I am the father of a baby that hasn't been born yet.'"

"Now they're expecting me to go to law school in order to be a dad?" Bryce asks. 

Bryce's attorney, Foster Glass, explains another part of the law. "My client would've had to try to contribute money within one year of the conception," he says. The judge ruled that it couldn't be proved that Bryce offered child support, and his verbal offerings did not count. 

 

Bryce says he tried several times to contact Esther, so he could send money for the baby, but she refused to take his calls. "That's where the big shocker came," Bryce says. "The judge decided since I did not contribute " even though I was shut out, even though I offered to give money " I lost my rights as a father."

"So what we have here is the other side trying to use what they see as a loophole in the law to give the child away before the father has even the opportunity to know of the child or try to contribute," Foster says.

"I do not feel that I took Bryce's rights away," Esther says.

"All I know is what's happening here is wrong. This law is so twisted up," Bryce says. "It's not only my will, it is my legal right. This is about war. I'm fighting for my daughter."

 

"I don't think that he's going to let this stop until he's had his way. Bryce is selfish, belligerent and immature. He needs to stop acting like a child and accept the fact that the laws are the laws," Esther says. "I think that he's an unfit father. He doesn't have a driver's license. While he was living in a halfway home, he was drinking. I felt like the baby deserved more."

"Yeah, I've had DUIs, and I made bad choices," Bryce admits, "but I'm sober now."

"He tricks people into believing that he's this wonderful Christian when he's this scary guy who is abusive verbally and was abusive physically," Esther says. "I slept with him to please him."

"I wasn't abusing Esther in any way," Bryce argues. "She sexually abused me. She wanted to have sex. I don't believe in premarital sex. After I found out she was pregnant, I wasn't really sure that it was mine," he admits.