“Well, I wasn’t going to quit there. For goodness sake, she’s a Texan.”
The grandmother of Faith Pennington, much like Pennington herself, was not easily discouraged during the months-long struggle to prove her granddaughter’s American citizenship and, effectively, her existence.
Dubbed the “woman who doesn’t exist,” the 20-year-old Texan’s story was recently featured in an episode of popular podcast Radiolab, which reported on the odd situation Pennington found herself in.
Pennington’s parents opted not file a birth certificate, or a birth record of any kind, for their children. Because Pennington was also homeschooled, had never been to a hospital and was never assigned a social security number, she realized, after fleeing her family’s home, that she had no way of proving her existence.
In a Youtube video cry for help, Pennington explains that she wasn’t able to “get a drivers license, get a job, go to college, get on a plane, get a bank account, or vote.” You can watch the full video below:
Although, as Jarell’s Advocate reports, she has since been able to prove her existence (with the help of Texas representative Marsha Farney, a new bill and a delayed birth certificate), Pennington’s journey in adjusting to life away from her sheltered family farm says a lot about the difference between what it means to prove you exist and what it means to find out who you are.
You can listen to the full Radiolab episode here, or read about a similar situation which had affected other Texas-born children here.