Identity Crisis

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It’s almost circular, isn’t it?  You need  a birth certificate to prove your age and citizenship, but you need a US passport to prove your identity. However, you need a birth certificate to get the US passport.

Somebody brought up the case of Alecia Faith Pennington in a comment the other day, and that set me wondering. I hadn’t heard an update on Faith’s situation (that’s the name she goes by) in a long time and I was curious to see how her case is progressing.

And that sent me down the rabbit trail.

Here’s some background for those who might not know what I’m talking about.

Faith Pennington is the daughter of Lisa Pennington.  At least, that’s how I think of her primarily.  I was aware of Lisa long before Faith flew the coop, because Lisa is a blogger.  (Warning: the blog is filled with clickbait. Lisa is quite clearly trying to make money off it.)

She had written a piece several years ago slamming gays which I found pretty offensive, so I wrote her a note to explain my dismay to her. She does not allow negative comments of any sort on her blog, so I knew it wouldn’t be approved, but it really wasn’t for public consumption. It was for her. I made it very short and to the point because I knew she would hit delete as soon as she recognized it as negative.

I noticed at some point that her husband, James, is a graduate of Liberty University’s law school, which is pretty much the worst law school in America. But he can’t use the excuse that he doesn’t know that no ID severely restricts what people can and cannot do in this country.

In short, they are right-wing conservative Christian homeschoolers who live out in the boonies and completely isolate their numerous children.

So I knew who they were, sort of, in a kind of detached “oh, yeah, another one of those” way.

And then Faith left home and made a video.

And the video went viral. Way, way beyond Naugler viral. Really viral.

Faith had decided to leave home and go live with her grandmother.  Well, here. You’ve seen Faith’s side of it. Let’s read Lisa’s.  Note: this is a PDF of the post Lisa made on her horrid little blog, playing her victimy whiny violin and begging for sympathy because her grown daughter decided to leave home.  She took the original one down, but the internet is forever.

She calls it “The Hardest Post I Ever Wrote.”  Bless her little heart. One of her children essentially gave her the finger and moved out.  And that’s the hardest thing she’s ever dealt with.

She also manages to insult the hell out of her own mother by calling her “a godless woman who has been giving her [Faith] foolish counsel and encouraging her to deceive us and get out.” Her argument seems to center around Faith refusing to come home.

Why should Faith go home? Really? Why should she?  “Home” means living out in the middle of nowhere, used as a babysitter for all the younger siblings, with no social life and no autonomy and no driver’s license (and no access to a car even if you had a license) and no job and no access to the internet.  “Home” means giving up her adulthood to the control of her parents. But the Penningtons were willing to give her “everything she wanted” (meaning: her rightful identity and the paperwork to prove it, something she should have had as her birthright) provided she would “come home” and be their willing, controlled slave once again.

I say that Faith was lucky to have grandparents who were willing to help her out.

And that’s where I left Faith. She had no ID of any sort, and no way to get any that anyone could see. She was basically invisible.  She was also resolved.  Other news outlets were reporting on the story, including this one that gives more details. 

Her father made his own video (removed now) where he made the whole controversy about how she is basically a bratty teenager who wanted her driver’s license. Just the sort of thing one would expect from these sort of folks. And then it all sort of went silent.

I kind of forgot about her, until she was mentioned in the comments here.

So, imagine my delight to discover this.

I know. It’s half-an-hour in length, but it’s worth listening to it. Faith has come a long, long way.

What astonished me the most, I think, is that a Republican state legislator in Texas came to her aid. That’s just wonderful and welcome and I am thrilled.  And the Texas legislature did, in fact, pass legislation that makes it a crime to deny your adult children their identification.  Texas did this.  Regressive, backward, goofy Texas. The state I would be happy to see leave the union. They did this.  Good for them.

Faith, according to her Facebook page, has her delayed birth certificate, is awaiting her passport to arrive in the mail, and will be able to use those two documents to finally get a Social Security number so she can get a job, go to school, and be a real person.

But notice this. The video that Faith made and put on YouTube was released on February 9, 2015.   That’s nineteen months ago.

It has been more than a year and a half and Faith still doesn’t have all her documents.  Let that sink in.

For more than a year and a half, Faith Pennington, who is an adult US citizen, has been unable to get a job, or go to school, or travel outside the United States. She literally can’t do much of anything. And it’s entirely a situation that her parents caused because they have engaged in something that now has a name.

It’s called identification abuse.

Homeschoolers Anonymous article about Faith

Lots more Homeschoolers Anonymous pieces on identification abuse

Coalition For Responsible Home Education article about identification abuse

The Washington Post article about Faith

PDF report of a survey of homeschool alumni about identification abuse

In Texas, denying these documents to an adult child is a crime. It ought to be a crime everywhere, and that includes Kentucky.  Forcing an adult child to waste two years of her life, put it all on hold, because you happen to be a control-freak asshole ought to be a criminal offense.

Faith was lucky because her video went so viral that she got the attention of people with the power to do something about her situation.

What about those who didn’t make a video?

41 thoughts on “Identity Crisis”

  1. I personally believe Jojo and Nikki are hoping their kids stay with them, and don’t leave. Drivers license- you don’t need that to operate a vehicle. Schooling- we unschools. Who needs higher education. They are brainwashing those kids, I’m willing to bet my left toe on it. Don’t trust the ebil government.

  2. I wish it was a crime in Kentucky. It would be a pleasure to see Joe and Nicole Naugler charged and convicted of identification and educational abuse. I hope CPS have the authority to force the Nauglers to register their children and get them identification. It is a blessing for the Naugler children that they have been placed in CPS care because at least they have a starting point to get identification when they leave the Blessed Little cult compound.

    I hope the Naugler children have the courage Faith has and leave their parents warped world behind them.

  3. Well, you can’t make laws retroactive. For that reason, the Pennington parents can’t be charged with a crime in Texas.

    But it’s good for the ones coming along behind them.

  4. Lisa Pennington is a bitch. James is an asshat. Close to NN but not quite. At least her kids actually do get homeschooled. I’ve followed Alecia’s story since the beginning of it. I hope soon she will be able to do everything she wants to do and leave her abusive parents in the dust. And I hope the other Pennington children get their legal documents and get the hell out of Dodge as well.

  5. It’s so peculiar, the very control these type parents perceive is by the government, is the same and worse in what they wield with their children. It is horrible, smothering. And it is abuse. I am reminded of what others encountered, to keep one in their place. Black slaves. No identity of their own, which equaled no freedom. These children born in this idiocy, are essentially co-dependent. Being “kept in their place”.

    Lisa Pennington’s 18 year old daughter chose to leave home, imagine that? What is so irrational and non normal about an adult child wanting to leave home to pursue their own adult life adventures? I heartache in Faith’s troubles, from what I would call criminal deeds of her parents. It is so annoying, these parents have the benefits of a birth certificate, social security number, drivers license and apparently at least one has a college education. Which would of required proof of identity to enter college. What audacity to intentionally withhold these benefits from their children!

    I am enthused that Faith published a very wide reaching viral story. I hope it brings awareness and light to other children that are being indoctrinated under the control of their parents, by no choice of their own. Children are not possessions! They are not indentured/unfree because they are born unto you.

    The Nauglers going viral with their CPS story, in my opinion, will shed light on and for those children. I do feel some certainty that CPS has required at the least, birth certificates for all the children. They would need to have identity, for purposes of the investigation and ongoing case plan. And since Nicole has stated the children are free will in their education, we can hope especially the older ones will take full opportunity to view Faith Pennington’s viral video. So they may not end up losing 15 or more months of life as she did, pursuing identification documents. Thank gawd for her grandparents, who have supported her along the way.

  6. These relationships that parents coerce their offspring into are so clearly seriously unhealthy. They create an atmosphere of total reliance and codependency. It is so evident when you read Lisa’s response to her 18 yr old daughter moving out. OMG. Some empty-nest syndrome stuff is normal. Crying to the point of scaring your other children and locking yourself in a closet? That is some unhealthy stuff right there. Seriously. If you are reading this and you believe that your children are simply extensions of your own worldview and that they literally belong to you. Please do some genuine soul searching. You are screwing with their heads with this bullshit. Get a grip.

  7. slight correction: According to her FB page, she began the process inn Sept 2014.

    Then it’s even worse. I was going by the date the video was uploaded to YouTube.

  8. I’ve seen it pop up in personal account after personal account by people who were raised by narcissists: parents who don’t want their children to ever leave–even if leaving would be better for the parents, not “just” the kids. Their children actually going off and living lives that are not personally curated by them is just unthinkable to these parents. So they will make every little ordinary step toward independence as difficult as possible. There is no end to the things they will stoop to, some of them vile. Denying their children the documents they need to prove their identity is very common. Ms. Pennington had a “job” as unpaid labor for her parents’ assorted Christian(TM) sales enterprises, but even when the parents could harvest more money from their kids by sending them off to college and helping them get jobs, the need to have them under their hands is so visceral that they will sabotage their children’s chances.

    I suspect that we’re looking at something like this with the Nauglers. Even if they don’t articulate it, they probably feel scared thinking about their kids leaving.

  9. Hope Nicole is reading. Hey, Nicole, you’ve basically created a tiny, impoverished, oppressive government. You hate rules, but you control your kids like a fascist dictator. Your ideological battle with the world keeps your family destitute, filthy and hungry.

  10. When the story first went viral and there was the understandable backlash against the Pennington parents, the parents lied. To get people off their back they said they would provide the requisite paperwork so that their daughter could get her birth certificate. Had they actually followed through and done it the time to get her birth certificate and social security card would have been much shorter. Instead they not only did not provide the vital documentation her father actually came to the hearings being held in the Texas legislature to protest the passing of the law.

  11. To get people off their back they said they would provide the requisite paperwork so that their daughter could get her birth certificate.

    They weasel-worded it. They said they had told her they would give her whatever she wanted, but she “still wouldn’t come home.” In other words, they didn’t have to follow through because she didn’t come home. Giving her the paperwork (or helping her get it) was conditional on her obeying them.

  12. Oh, and she still doesn’t have a Social Security number. That’s the final piece that she’s waiting to get.

  13. These kinds of people are very aware of outright lying. They weasel-word to get around it. That’s because they think Jesus is watching them. They also think Jesus is an idiot and will be fooled by the weasel words.

  14. I highly doubt that Nicole or Joe actually believe any of the religious doctrine that they pretend to follow. After all, they had six of their brood out of wedlock. What they actually stand for is still vague. One day it all voluntaryist bull and the next it is all Godly. The only thing they really believe in is the almighty dollar. But, by not documenting the children they shot themselves in the foot because how can the kids bring home the bacon if they can’t get jobs?

  15. There is a new ad out about HPV vaccination. In it, actors playing young adults who got cancers caused by HPV say something to the effect of, “It turns out I could have gotten a vaccine that would have prevented this from happening to me”. They look directly at the camera and say, “Did you know, mom?”.

    I found this ad so powerful that it brought tears to my eyes. This is not a post about vaccination per se. It’s a post about the potential for any kid to have an awful realization that what they’ve experienced was caused by their parents’ choices and beliefs and did not need to happen.

    A conservative estimate would be that at least one of the kids will have this realization. With others the epiphany may appear to occur and will be heavily marketed as a clear testimony of the parents’ willingness to let them have independence. In fact, what may occur could be a spore of the original fungus. I would not be surprised at all if in the near future one of them leaves to “homestead” in another state. It will seem like a positive move and will be sold as such–and perhaps it *will* be an awesome new start. I really hope so. But what may also occur is that the rest of the family may begin “visiting” for longer and longer periods, until, well, you know. My opinion only, but reading the comments on the Reddit article I realized that the level of control exerted by Pennington parents is both familiar and shocking. She’s a tough cookie to walk away from that pressure.

  16. “Weasel-word” is going in heavy rotation. I will use it constantly. Thank you, Sally. I just don’t understand why anyone would not want an SS number. Can you get welfare without it? Why wouldn’t you want those benefits for your kids? Unless you have something very dire that you want to hide. I’m thinking when those kids get taken again, several of them are never going back because they won’t want to. Full bellies, warm beds, dental care, activities, etc. And they will be removed from the Naugs again. It’s only a matter of time. Perhaps then the state will help them with i.d.

  17. I can’t imagine after CPS being so involved with the Naguler children, that they wouldn’t have required the NN and JN to get the kids birth certificates. Surely that was part of the deal in getting back physical custody.

  18. There is a huge difference in Faith Pennington and the Naugler children. The State of Kentucky requires Social Workers to obtain Birth Certificates, Social Security Cards for all children that are placed in foster care.
    If the parents do not have them the Intake Workers and the Judge send off for these records with or without the parents consent and when it is done that way no child is denied. CPS and the Judges office has the State and Federal on speed-diel. They actually can get it done within a few hours of one day when a child is taken into Emergency Temporary Custody and most certainly before the first 72 Hour Hearing.

    The Birth Certificate and Social Security Cards are then used to get the child a Medical Passport and Card. And are taken straight to a hospital and or Doctors office to be checked out. If a child has no medical history, or shot record provided by the parents….guess what happens?
    They get ALL their shots while in State Custody !!!

    Here is some other fun FACTS I bet Nicole does not want brought up.

    1. The State CAN retain these original copies of Birth Certificates and Social Security Cards until the child’s 18th Birthday. It is put in their permit folder when the case is closed and can ONLY be released to the child at his or her request. Otherwise they can just go order another copy through Vital Records and the Social Security Office, because Kentucky has already set it up for them.
    Joe and Nicole are just shit-out’a- luck if they think they can pull a Lisa Pennington on their kids.

    2. When Foster Care children are released back to their parents and are working a Case Plan the children are sent home with those Medical Cards, and needy families are set-up with EBT Cards and Wick. It is part of the Case Plan to insure the Health and well being of the child and or children. The Nauglers would have to accept this help weather they wanted it or not, or prove they can provide for all 11 children.
    No child can be returned without this assurance of medical care and food. No Judge or Social Worker would send them home without it either. It is part of the K.R.S Laws when returning children. They send these kids home back to their parents with every opportunity for the family to thrive.

    Joe and Nicole would never admit that they are getting help from Uncle Sam. But some of us do know the rules and the laws…..I’m calling BULLSHIT.
    Call your local Kentucky C.P.S Office and ask any Social Worker who works with Foster Care children and ask for yourself. Nicole has been blowing her big bag of wind for months on these issues.

  19. When I read Lisa’s blog I wish I could have been there as she cried her crocodile tears so I could have slapped her. What a crazy bitch. The fact that her adult daughter left home sent her into a psychotic break? What a loon!
    Joe and Nicole are doing the same thing to their kids. A few people have asked about her children’s lack of birth certificates and SSNs and she keeps insisting that it’s no big deal. So sad. Her kids are uneducated, dirt poor, underfed and have no identity as far as the government is concerned. When, oh when, is CPS going to step in and take those kids for good??

  20. Melissa, that is amazing and it makes sense. Explains why Nicole is being all weird and tight-lipped about it on her blog. Hilarious.

  21. Melissa, very interesting information, thanks. It certainly would account for Nicole’s “nope” answer when confronted on the issue of needing to provide these identity papers. She doesn’t need to do it, as it’s already been done but she’ll never clarify that. Typical Nicole game play. She only reveals the truth when her hand is forced. Keeps the talking up and attention on her that way.

    OT: It appears the daughter may be getting some normalizing influence from her equine experiences. Nikki’s talk about owning a horse may be one kept elsewhere, as she says if (“they”) her daughter buys a horse they probably won’t ever see her, suggesting now she’s gone a lot. Could be an equine work/ownership trade in the works. It may be she’ll make the needed first break for sanity. Here’s hoping love of a horse will beat Nikki’s hate for this world.

  22. How does one run a business without ID, or drive? Didn’t we just discover that a small person was working at a corporate place? So how does that one get paid with no ID?

    This ain’t the Walton’s.

  23. @Melissa: Really? That’s awesome!

    I hope the Naugler kids know all this, though. And haven’t been brainwashed against touching their evol evol identifying documents.

  24. One of the most frustrating things about parents with this worldview is that they never stop to consider that they are turning thwir kids into the exact dependant slaves that they accuse us all of being.

    What do the Penningtons or Nauglers think would happen to their families if the parents die or are hospitalized? Even if the older kids want to stay on the “farm” and contribute to the support of the little ones, they will be unable to because they have absolutely no way to generate an income. Cant work. Cant apply for services. Cant apply for SS benefits for the survivng children. They coulsnt even get a power bill in their name.
    So what kind of horrible things would the kids have to turn to in order to support themselves? Stealing, selling drugs, other things? I dont know. It seems over the top and dramatic…..but if the Pennington gorl did not have the help of het grandparents then how would she have support herself for almost two years? Crazy to think about.

  25. As a religious person and a conservative, the notion that one’s children are one’s possessions is nauseating. Lisa Pennington’s post is all about her, her welfare, her wants, and nothing about her daughter’s needs or rights. The thing is that one’s children are people who have rights. What Faith described are perfectly reasonable desires to get a driver’s license, go to college, travel, get a job and generally build a life for herself. I have a great problem with describing children as possessions, chattel, or as existing for the sake of the parents. Children are a huge responsibility for parents, not the other way around. Of course one teaches responsibility but it is a whacked out mind or pair of parental minds that has children so that the children can serve the parents. Words like extortion and emotional manipulation come to mind and Faith’s parents are howling because their adult daughter isn’t buying it.

    What implications does this have for the Nauglers? Let us hope they experience the same thing. From a philosophical view, children with no record cannot prove their existence so theoretically the parents cannot prove possession or parentage of those children. Of course children tend to rely on their parents so that position is purely philosophical.

  26. Weasel words…In Nicole’s case it’s more like an entire language and FB should provide a translate option after her posts.

    This identity issue reminds me of Nicole’s mention (fairly recent; it was this past summer) that the Blessed Little plan included building a cabin for her oldest son on the property once the main cabin was finished – evidently her vision for her son’s adulthood includes him not leaving the Blessed Little Nest/Compound.

  27. I don’t get the whole wanting your children to stay at home forever. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, yes even my adult children. But part of life is growing up and moving out. I remember the joy of moving to my first place on my own, halfway across the country. I have fond memories of that first crappy apartment that I shared with two girls, who are still my friends nearly 3 decades later. It is just how growing up works.

    Yes I cried when I dropped my first child off at college. We drove to the other side of the country to drop him off. I held it together until we drove out of the parking lot to head home. I cried for a good four hours. It’s okay to mourn your child growing up, that is a normal human reaction. You’ve spent 18+ years with them and you will be a little sad. But to expect them to always be in your home is ludicrous. And to make it so they are prisoners of your home by denying them the basic right of legal documentation is unreal.

    I do hope that Melissa is right and that the Naugler children now have those legal documents. It really should be criminal for them to not have them. I am not all for throwing people in jail but I think it is a fair consequence for basically keeping your children in prison.

    And to get back to the whole children leaving the home. Now that I’ve had more children leave home I can honestly say I am looking forward to being an empty nester. I love my children but I also love seeing them grow into healthy, happy adults. It’s just another stage of life and it’s quite freeing.

  28. Dinah I was just talking about this with a couple of coworkers this morning. Their kids are moving out. Mine still have three or four years to go. But I get little tastes of it when they go for sleepovers with friends and I have the house to myself. It’s a mixed bag of sweet relief and freedom combined with missing them and feeling sorta weird. But my goal is, and always will be, to raise kids into adults who love the world and want to strive to add goodness and light into it. They can’t do that holed up with me forever.

    “poorkids”, the older son ostensibly has a normal job because at least two of the older kids have birth certificates. The parents didn’t adopt this particular brand of crazy until a few years in.

  29. Just a little reminder to those who have been paying attention to every little detail. Remember Joe & Nicole got a Refund Check this past year when they had to file on Business and the GFM money. Nicole stated that the Refund Check was being intercepted for Joe’s Child Support Arrears.
    In order for them to have filed ANYTHING with the IRS they had to show Social Security Cards for everyone of those children.
    She thinks we are all stupid and she is fooling everyone…..LOLS
    More than likely their CPS Worker gave them a copy of the children’s cards so they could go file their Taxes, or Nicole reordered a set after Kentucky set it all up for them.

    Tax time is rolling around again, you go in there and try to file your Taxes without listing everyone in the Household. She has those cards, or at least the numbers people. 🙂

  30. My first thought on NN’s banned list where she is “writing about” (ie: copy and paste from a more reliable source) why these books were once banned, somewhere…. was,,,,”How many of these have YOU read, Nicole?”

    Her weak attempt to get suckers to buy them so she can make 25 cents (if that!) a pop cracked me up. There were very few “likes.”

    Secondly on the taxes, the adult N’s could have filed without claiming the offspring’s existence, which might be …. I dunno… fraud?! I am not a tax expert.

  31. Interesting fact about tax intercepts…. Our was intercepted once due to student loans that were in default. The IRS allows the injured spouse (Nicole in this instance….the back child support is not her debt) to get their portion of any refund. Since Joe earns no income Nicole would be eligible to get most of the refund sent to her. I am positive she is well aware of this fact and collected a nice chunk of change from Uncle Sam.

  32. Unfortunately my parents were those kind of people as well and they had a half dozen children without documentation whatsoever. When my mom finally snapped out of her cultish mentality haze she realized that she had all these children with absolutely no way to prove they were even hers and started applying, asking, begging for our birth certificates and social security numbers. But just like Faith we had no record of anything at all so she quickly came to a dead end. Long story short she had to grasp straws and save every little scrap of paper with our names to serve as records. After 5 long years she sent them in hoping to finally get what she needed but they turned her away again. It was 10 years before we finally managed to get those papers. By that time I was well passed the age to get a job, get my permit, etc etc. It should certainly be considered child abuse and should be very illegal.

  33. Anonymous,
    Can you tell us how you got along in those adult years without proper documentation? Driving, job etc.? What caused your parents to do this and not document any of you? So sorry you went through all of this…

  34. Good news! Just received information that Faith has gotten her Social Security Number. She now has all the paperwork to prove her legal identity. That girl is going to go far!

  35. Hey, Faith updated her Facebook page

    Good afternoon everyone! I have great news.

    I recently received my Social Security Number!! That was the final step toward getting my identity. After two years of working towards this, it’s finally finished! I actually cried the whole way home from the social security office.

    Thank you all so much for your support. I am hoping got start a go-fund-me as soon as I figure out what I want to do for college. I’m so excited to get my life started!

  36. I am so delighted for Faith! I am sorry that you had such a terrible ordeal, Anonymous. I am also curious of how you managed. Perhaps if you share some of your story it may help the Naugler children figure out how to survive once they leave and establish themselves.

  37. I agree with all comments that are for laws that require all men and women to register their children with the state to which the child was born. I was born in a hospital, but my mother was illiterate. She told the nurse what she wanted me named and her name and my father’s name and that was it and she and my father both put their X on the birth certificate…then my older siblings taught me to spell my name and when I went to the hospital with polio, one of my older siblings wrote all my information out for the doctor to take with him…they always spelled my name wrong…on my birth certificate my first name only had one n and my last name was also spelled wrong (the nurse must have been in a hurry because my mother had already birthed eight kids at that hospital). Really. So, by the time I was old enough to apply for a social security card (back in the olden days, we got our SS card before we got our learner’s permit so I was like 14 and it was part of our civics class project), I filled out the card and sent it in. I got a social security card with my correctly spelled name that wasn’t consistent with my birth certificate but in those days, you got your parent or guardian to sign…no other proof needed. Years later, I signed up to join the Air Force and they found that my birth certificate and my social security card and my driver’s license were not consistent. At that time, during the early 70s, it only required my sister sign that I am who I said I was and it was okay; I should have applied for a name change but the Air Force said her signature was enough. Then, after 911, I needed to update my passport….let’s just say that I could no longer get a signature of a parent or guardian or neighbor to vouch for me. My old passport was taken, someone from the state department visited me (a military record based on a lie or some shit like that), and all of a sudden, my social security card was invalid. It took me 5000 dollars to get that shit fixed. I had to do a name change, get a court order to have access to all my old records, and since I didn’t have the time to spend all day long running around trying to fix all that shit, I hired an attorney. I was due in China in two months and their state department has to approve the visa to enter their country 30 days before entering….it was a royal mess. My birth certificate has officially been changed to match my driver’s license and my social security card and my new passport matches everything but every time I fly, especially coming back into the country, I’m flagged for questions….The moral of this story…I had paper work and look how hard it was on me post 911…can you imagine how hard it would be for one of Ns kids to apply for a passport…social security card…without a birth certificate and with N and J being so paranoid about records….why put the children through having to prove they are US citizens? I suspect that the N children have proper records now since they are legally in the system, which is why the older boy has a part time job, maybe.

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