Help Me Prove It

News: 19-year-old Alecia Faith Pennington claims she cannot prove her natural born citizenship due to parents' off-the-grid beliefs.

On 9 February 2015, a 19-year-old woman named Alecia Faith Pennington published a video to YouTube during which she described a bizarre conundrum: According to Pennington, she lacked the basic documentation to engage in any typical aspects of American life (such as driving, obtaining employment, traveling, or attending school) because her parents had intentionally obstructed the creation of any official records of her existence:

Without a birth certificate, Social Security number, medical records, or a school record, Pennington stated, she was effectively excluded from graduating to legal adulthood despite having reached that milestone more than a year earlier:


This leaves me with nothing to prove my identity or citizenship. I am now 19 years old and I’m unable to get a driver’s license, get a job, go to college, get on a plane, get a bank account, or vote.

 

The chain of events as relayed by Pennington did not necessarily beggar belief as described. According to the 19-year-old, she was born at home (with a midwife present), and

no birth certificate was issued. She claimed her parents never filed for a Social Security number on her behalf, and that she never attended any school (public or private). Furthermore, Pennington said she was never hospitalized and thus lacked the medical records that would have been generated had such a visit occurred.

A blog post made by a woman named Lisa Pennington in September 2014 relayed a scenario that matched Alecia’s account. In that writing, the elder Pennington didn’t admit to withholding corroboration of her daughter’s identity; she described that her child had suddenly left home at age 18 for unexplained reasons:


On Wednesday, September 24th my life was changed forever. My 18 year old daughter left home. She gave us no warning, no signs that it was coming. She didn’t try to talk to us about it or work with us. She, with the help of my parents, just left. And with her she took pieces of my heart that had been torn to shreds. I cried harder that day than I ever knew was possible. So hard that it scared my little boys and I had to go in my closet and put a pillow over my face to muffle the sobs.

We did have a meeting with our daughter about a week after she left and it became obvious when we agreed to give her everything she was asking for that she did not intend to come home. She had sent us a list of things she wanted to change at home, but because we agreed to all of the changes and she still won’t come home … it seems there must be something deeper there that she isn’t telling us.

I ask myself, “How can I help her if she won’t tell me the truth?”


 

Alecia claimed her parents were uncooperative in facilitating her attempts to establish her identity and obtain the necessary documentation she required to enroll in college or get a job. According to a homeschool advocacy blog, Pennington’s claims aren’t unusual and affect between three and four percent of homeschooled children:


Sadly, Alecia is not alone in her predicament. According to HARO’s 2014 Survey of Adult Alumni of the Modern Christian Homeschool Movement, out of 3703 respondents, 3.65% (or 135 respondents) experienced some form of identification abuse. Numerous testimonies from homeschool alumni denied identification documents can be seen at the Coalition for Responsible Home Education’s website.



 

Pennington summed up her efforts to date in a document published to a Facebook page she created to crowdsource assistance in establishing her identity:

On 11 February 2015, James Pennington posted a video to YouTube in which he stated that he wished to help his daughter establish her identity. James Pennington also registered the domain helpmeproveit.com but has not yet published any information to it:

One of Pennington’s siblings commented on a post made to her Facebook page and claimed “[t]he reason why Alecia is having so much trouble is that she is unwilling to have any kind of relationship with my parents and meet with them to work this out.”

Last updated:   11 February 2015

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