On February 9, 2015, the above video was posted to YouTube by Alecia Faith Pennington of Texas alleging that she was an American citizen but was unable to prove it because her parents had neglected to file the proper paperwork at her birth. She claims she does not have a birth certificate or a social security number, and that her parents are unwilling to help her obtain them.
Her video addresses these facts and asks for help from the public in figuring out how to navigate her citizenship process legally. She asks for general support, media acknowledgment, legal help from lawyers, and overall advice. She asked to be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what you need to know about the 19-year-old girl.
1. She was Born at Home
Alecia was born in 1996 at home and her parents never filed for a birth certification or a social security number.
To add to the problem, she was homeschooled so there is no record of her attendance at a public school and she has never been to a hospital, so no medical records, either.
Alecia alleges her parents have declined to her help her in the process, and so on February 9 she began a social media campaign that started with the above YouTube video. It quickly went viral and coincided with a Facebook page called “Help Me Prove It”, which can be viewed here.
Alecia has not publicly stated why her parents took this route and have refused to help her, but speculation on Reddit includes that she might come from a gypsy family or one that practices isolationist, Christian extremism. It appears the latter is right as some Redditors found Alecia’s mother’s blog post about the subject. Her mother’s name is Lisa.
2. Her Mom Took to a Blog to Respond
Lisa Pennington has a blog titled “The Pennington Point.”
In a since post addressing her daughter, Alecia, Lisa wrote:
Many, many of you have asked for updates on the situation with our daughter. I have been hesitant to talk any more about it for several reasons.
There really is not much to tell since there have not been any significant changes.
Like I said in my original post, I only want to share my own story and not speak for anyone else. (I have received a few emails of criticism for that, which puzzles me because I was only trying to respect the others in this situation. But I certainly do NOT think this is all about me….in fact I think very little of it is about me at all, but a mother’s heart can break over her child no matter how old the child is and if you don’t understand that then you are blessed not to have felt this pain).
I don’t want it to be the focus of my blog.
BUT….I am not hesitant to share how incredible God is and that His hand has been so obvious through all of our sorrow and tears. Despite the overwhelming agony of loss, the unspeakable joy that has cropped up all around me has to be shared!
In the beginning of this trial I asked Him to make me an empty vessel through which He could pour out His beauty and grace. And He has used this situation to grant that prayer. But let me warn you, before you pray that…..be ready for your world to be shaken up big time! You can’t be empty if you are hanging onto idols in your life with a vice grip. Trust me, I am the queen of that. My knuckles are still sore from trying.
So, while I still hurt deeply, I am also experiencing a depth of faith that I didn’t understand before. I know a greater joy through many blessings including a deeper, richer relationship with our other adult children who have stood by and supported the hard decisions that we have had to make. I have learned to lean on God when things around me look bleak. There is story after story I could tell you about how He has shown Himself to all of us in amazing ways. Here are a few examples:
One afternoon I was crying in my bathroom and one of the boys heard me. He knocked on the door and asked if he could pray with me. He put his arms around me and cried with me and we prayed. Suddenly, we both instantly felt a surge of strength and the burden lift. Really…it was an actual physical lifting and a surprise to us both. We pulled back and looked at each other in amazement. Afterwards my son offered me some incredible Biblical advice that was wise beyond his years. It gave me huge comfort! God is using my pain to help turn my son into a man and draw closer to Him…..wow!
During my time at the Summit several older women approached me and asked how I was doing. They knew about our situation and wanted to encourage me. These wise women poured the love of God into me and I could so clearly see that He gave me these friends a year before this happened because He knew how much I would need them now. To have godly women who have been in my shoes tell me that I am on the right path and not to lose hope…..priceless!
One more story….on Friday night at the Oklahoma Summit the team members (me included) were standing in the front of the ballroom ready to pray for the women there. I had prayed with a couple of ladies and was standing there waiting when a women came up to me….I was ready to lift her up, but she said that she came to pray for me! She offered the sweetest prayer and words of encouragement to me! I wept on her shoulder. It felt like God sent an angel.
I could go on and on….almost every day since this all began He has used someone (many of YOU!) to lift me up and show Himself. And every single time I am reminded of His love and I want to shout it from the rooftops! GOD IS GOOD!!!!
Then I want to pour it all right back out to you.
When you are struggling with anything….ANYTHING….He is there to comfort you. His Word is a balm that I crave more and more as I walk this path. Don’t underestimate the power of the revealed Will of God. Some things are so hard to see….but there is SO much that is right there in front of you.
Deuteronomy 29:29 says His ways are not just for us, but for our children! It is His will that we tell the truth (Ex 20:16), that His mercy does not depend on anything I do (Romans 9:14-24), He does not tempt us (James 1:13), that there is only one way to be saved (Mark 16:16), and much more!
I share those with you so that you know that when you can’t figure out what His will is for you, you always know what He reveals to us in His Word. It’s a great place to start! Then He will unfold the rest as you need it.
The bottom line is…..I don’t trust myself. I make mistakes, I mess things up, I can look back on any part of this ordeal and see things I could have done differently and probably should have. Yes, often I hear from God through the Holy Spirit and I do my best to make sure it’s not my own thoughts then step out in faith. It’s all I can really do if I want peace, put my trust in God….I know that He will work it all for my good and for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). I try my best and then leave the rest in His hands.
Thanks so much to all of you for being so willing to let God use you to bless our family! I pray that it is coming back to you 100-fold. And I pray that when you face trials that feel like you can’t survive that you find comfort and peace in the Word of God and His mercy and grace.
Now, back to our regular, lighter posts……
3. She Had Tried Other Means
Before beginning her social media campaign, Alecia reportedly tried other means.
Above is a letter she posted to her Facebook page that includes a timeline of other methods she had taken in her attempting to prove her citizenship to no avail.
However, she did file for a name change and has been posting on her accounts under the surname “Pennington.” This obviously could not have been done legally as she is not a legal citizen of the United States at this time.
4. Her Father Responded to Her Via YouTube
Alecia has apparently cut complete communication ties with her parents, as her father, James Pennington, posted this to YouTube yesterday, February 11, addressing her concerns.
He refutes her claims that him and his wife were unwilling to help Alecia prove her citizenship, claiming to be a lawyer that has helped Alecia’s siblings with similar issues on citizenship.
Some have even suggested that his personality seems cultish.
Says one user:
Why does this sound like a threat???? Every single “happy” “love you” or subtle “I think you have my contact information” is like a veiled threat that my years of experience as a son automatically interprets as a “I can’t say it right now because I’m in public, but as soon as you get home you are in big trouble”
5. A Lawyer has Agreed to Help Alecia
On February 12, Alecia posted on her “Help Me Prove It” Facebook page that a lawyer has contacted her and agreed to help her.
No word yet on who and how.
Check back for updates.