Alecia Pennington needs her birth certificate and social security card to help her in her adult life. Her parents, James and Lisa Pennington have not helped her obtain these important documents. Why?
There’s a very sad story spreading throughout social media regarding a young lady (age 19) named Alecia Faith Pennington.
She goes by Alecia. Her father calls her Faith. Hmm. Think about that for a moment.
Alecia comes from a large homeschooling family whose parents are very active in the homeschool community. Mom, Lisa, is a blogger (Hip Homeschool Momsand The Pennington Point) and speaks at conventions. Alecia left her home abruptly.
Lisa Pennington wrote this about Alecia leaving:
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.
I can relate with Lisa’s feelings and her sadness. I’ve been there, too. Well, that’s Lisa’s side of the story. Moving on to Alecia. Unfortunately, since leaving home, Alecia has been unable to start her adult life very well without much-needed documentation which she claims her parents haven’t given her.
I want you to hear straight from Alecia:
This is from her father, James Pennington, who posted the following on Facebook, along with the YouTube video:
By now many of you have seen the video that our daughter made.
We made a video response, even though we would prefer to have handled this privately. But it’s gotten bigger than just us now.
We want to say loud and clear that we love our daughter and want her to have everything she wants in life.
We have offered many times to help her and have continued to offer since the video came out. We have never refused to help.
We had no idea what she had been through trying to obtain this information until the video came out. She never told us about any of it.
We wish her every happiness. (Source)
James and Lisa Pennington have a lot of supporters. Here’s one:
I want to say up front that my creepo meter has gone off on this story for a number of reasons. When I see that Lisa Pennington has removed pertinent blog articles and comments, that is troublesome.
Alecia set up a Twitter account under the name @HelpMeProveit, along with a Facebook page with the same name, Help Me Prove It. Can anyone tell me why her father would have a need to buy the domain helpmeproveit.com, except as a preemptive move to keep the story from spreading? See this link. (Those of you familiar with my story may remember my suing pastor also bought domain names similar to the name of my former blog so as to phish readers to his site.) It is my understanding that this is a form of cyber bullying which can have legal ramifications.
This story feels very familiar to me for a number of reasons. My daughter left home abruptly and we (and our pastor/church) immediately labeled her as rebellious. In our culture, an adult daughter just doesn’t leave home like that. The happily-ever-after story is dad selects an approved young man for adult daughter to court and they get married. To leave from under the father’s roof on her own means she is out from under the Umbrella of Protection. To those who hold to these ideologies, Alecia would be in a very dangerous place spiritually and you can be sure that is where their primary focus is. It’s important to note that in this culture, the relationship between adult child and parent is not the most important agenda, the adult child’s spiritual state is the real issue for them. They will likely “sacrifice” their daughter permanently as “tough love” in order to feel the pain of the absence of her family and cause her to “come back.” This is a form of shunning and spiritual manipulation.
I can recall two other public cases within the last year of well-known homeschool parents whose adult children “rebelled.” The parents publicly say they love their adult children and want what’s best for them. They also insist that their adult children are in the wrong. They place all of their hope in God and hope their adult children will turn from their evil ways. I get it. I was one of those parents. One of those public stories seems to be moving in a positive direction after the mother publicly humbled herself. The other, not so much.
I reached out to James Pennington on Twitter to see if he would be open to a 3rd party help in the situation, whether that be me or anyone. Here is the conversation:
I haven’t been able to confirm from Alecia if what her father says in the last tweet is true. Based on the recent online activity of Alecia, it seems she would have reported something if they indeed connected and Alecia’s requests were being honored.
I’ve seen the way this works in similar ideological homeschool circles. If you notice in my conversation with Mr. Pennington, he seemed to struggle with saying, “yes, I’d be happy to do whatever it takes, even 3rd-party help.” Do you sense him dragging his feet? I think for the Pennington parents, it has to be on their terms. If you notice in the video, he tells Alecia to contact him. Yes, that would be a normal way of handling issues, but this is not normal. This is an estranged relationship and a fragile one.
In the circles I come from, parents are always right, so this would be labeled as Alecia’s problem and she is the one who has to make it right. The thought would be that she needs to humble herself and go to her parents if she wants them to help her. I highly suspect that they are forcing her to “suffer the consequences” of her “sin” and that is why they are not forthcoming with the information she needs, and requiring that she make the move to them. It’s all cloaked in “we love Faith,” but where is the humility on their side? Even if they feel they have been wronged, humility says for them to reach out to her on her terms. Show her grace in actions. Defending yourself on YouTube is not humble. Loving action would be to reach out in a way that feels safe to Alecia.
I don’t get these parents who will give up on their adult children, publicly say they are suffering for righteousness sake because they are doing “tough love.” This love thing seems to be very confusing to a lot of people and if it were really love, why would so many people be in so much pain?
Update: Alecia posted the following note on her Facebook page:
UPDATE: I have some wonderful news! My father has begun cooperating with us! He states he is willing to sign any documents, and give me any information he has concerning what I may need as proof.
I would also like to ask that you do not post demeaning comments about my parents. Even though I do not agree with them on many things, I would like their reputation to be protected as much as possible. Thanks!
- James and Lisa Pennington Respond to Identification Abuse Claims. Homeschoolers Anonymous
- When Your Very Identity is Held Hostage: Alecia Pennington and Identification Abuse, Homeschoolers Anonymous
- The girl who doesn’t exist: Teen claims estranged parents kept her so under wraps with home birth and schooling that she can’t get documents to work, travel or vote DailyMail.com
- 19-Year-Old Daughter of Homeschooling Christian Parents Needs Help Obtaining Essential Life Documents, The Friendly Atheist
- Alecia Pennington can’t prove she’s an American – or even exists. What would you do? from The Christian Science Monitor