Monday, May 22, 2017

A Crisis of Identity

This is Joel. He does not exist. I would have thought he did. After all, he's lived with us for nineteen years. But I've recently tried to help him get a state ID card, and the Secretary of State's office is not convinced that Joel is ... well... Joel.

Funny, because I sure remember staying pregnant for an extra day so that he would be born on April 2nd instead of April Fool's Day.

But what do I know? I'm just the mother that was induced and then endured many hours of labor before this bouncing, 9 lb, 2 oz baby boy came into the world.

You'd think that experience alone would qualify my word to carry weight, but it doesn't.

The problem, you see, is that, in order to get a photo ID, you need a photo ID. Which Joel would have if he'd gone to the local public high school. Since we're not very impressed with public education, we homeschooled our children. And the only photo ID they have is one that I made for them.

The Secretary of State's office was less than impressed with my desktop publishing skills.

Never had this problem you say? That's probably because you got an ID for your child before he/she turned eighteen. Apparently that coming-of-age age is quite the sticking point.

This is Nick. He's only seventeen, which is why he's able to exist. Last year I took both Joel and Nick to the Secretary of State's office to get them each an ID card. (We're not doing driver's licenses yet because we can't afford them on the insurance.)

You may or may not be aware that certain documents are required in order to obtain a state-issued identification. First, you have to prove your social security number, which you can do with your social security card. Keep in mind, though, that your social security card cannot be used to verify your identity. Or your legal presence. It can only verify your number.

Next, you need to have proof of your legal presence in the United States. I'm not sure how so many people who don't seem to have this end up getting licenses and even federal funding, but that's another blogpost too, and probably a little too political for some people. Suffice it to say, Joel and Nick both have birth certificates proving they were born in the United States. Unfortunately, the birth certificate can only verify your legal presence in the country. It cannot verify your identity.

And here's where we have a problem. You have to prove identity, and in order to do that you have to have a photo ID. Since Nick did not have a photo ID, and since I was listed on his birth certificate as his mother, and since I had the ID to prove that I was, indeed, the woman listed on his birth certificate, they accepted my word for it and gave Nick an ID, which means that the State of Michigan acknowledges that Nick Boyd exists.

Which brings us back to Joel, who does not exist. Joel also had no photo ID. I'm also listed on his birth certificate as his mother, and since I still had the same ID to prove that I was also Joel's mother, it should have been easy for Joel to get a state-issued identification card as well.

Not hardly.

Joel had turned eighteen two weeks before we went in to get their ID's. And since that was the case, they could no longer accept his mother's word for his identity.

Since when do I stop being their mother when they turn eighteen?

Never mind that they had just agreed to issue identity to Nick, standing right next to Joel. Never mind that the parents listed on their birth certificates were identical in every way.

Never mind that I have the grades and the report cards to prove that I taught this non-existent child throughout his life. Never mind that I have the medical records for when Joel broke both his arms and ended up the emergency room in Florida. Never mind that I have the medical records from when Joel took a line drive to the mouth and ended up in the emergency room in Michigan.

Never mind that I have a shot record from the health department declaring his immunizations are up-to-date. Never mind that he's had a legal hunting license in the state of Michigan for the last three years.

Since Joel doesn't exist, he certainly does not teach a Sunday School class at our church for boys in the third through sixth grades. And I suppose he couldn't possibly be responsible for the fact that he has boys saved in his class almost every week.

He certainly doesn't sing tenor in the choir, since he doesn't exist. And I'm not sure who is getting the benefit of his piano lessons, but it couldn't be Joel. Did I mention he doesn't exist?

At any rate, I've collected all these papers and documents to prove that Joel Boyd does, indeed, exist. I'm taking Joel and the documents to the secretary of state's office tomorrow in the hopes that they will also agree that Joel exists. Please pray that things go smoothly and that we can get his identification card.

If not, we have only one option left. They will accept a department of corrections prisoner identification card. But it seems a little drastic to have Joel commit a crime in order to prove his ID.

I'm getting desperate, and I'm afraid Joel will eventually fade away like the character on Back to the Future. So help me out. Leave a comment if you believe Joel exists. We could use the reinforcement.


  1. No doubt in our minds that Joel exist! We couldn't imagine a world without him or any of the Boyds actually ❤

  2. Joel... Joel... hmmm. I'm not quite sure who that is. Matt, Steph, Luke, Paul, Nick... No Joel.

  3. Also, if he does disappear... Dibs on his stuff!

  4. Well, if he doesn't exist, then I think I should worry bout my daughter because she is quite enamored with a uncle Jo Jo. If there is no uncle Jo Jo then she has an imaginary uncle... And we know how that ends up thanks to Nick

  5. What is this Joel, that you speak of?

    1. Yes, I'm confused...Joel who? Joel what? Joel where? That's a funny word too...joooooeeeellllll. Hmmmm

  6. Tell them he is an illegal alien and they will give you what ever you need. Only Americans have to prove they live here and exist. We had the same problem.

  7. I know that Joel exists as he set next to me when I was in the church choir.