Helping the Ex-Amish

With birth certificates and social security cards…

Question to Brenda:

What is the best way to help ex-Amish people adjust to American life when it comes to birth certificates and social security cards?

Answer from Brenda:

Offer to help the ex-Amish obtain a birth certificate and/or a social security number. The ones I know left without a birth certificate. To our government they were nonexistent. Since most Amish do home-births, parents may forgo filing a birth certificate.

This was the case of Josh (see my interview with him on my blog, In these cases, the ex-Amish person must go to the county seat and pay for a new – or if there’s an existing – birth certificate.

This may be an arduous and time-consuming process. A Swartzentruber Amish man phoned me once asking if I could help his wife get her birth certificate. It seems she was born at home, in another state, and her mother never filed a birth certificate. The gal was now married and living in Ohio without any legal documentation. We had to contact her birth state, gather affidavits from the Amish relatives present at the birth – who’d be willing to sign an affidavit – and wait. If you’ve ever waded through legal paperwork you can appreciate the needed patience and diligence.

Likewise, applying for a social security number is a prerequisite for employment. It is illegal to employ anyone who doesn’t have a social security number. Even if you want to serve ex-Amish, you do them no favor if you model breaking our laws.

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  1. Wow so complicated !!
    you are doing such a great thing helping them!
    and how much courage and strength it must take to break free from that life!
    How Did you get started helping them?

    • Ava, I didn’t go looking for it. Rather, my acquaintances with former-Amish literally came into my home when my daughters invited some “X men” for Sunday lunch. The bunch ate a 10-lb meatloaf, two servings of mashed potatoes, salads,cottage cheese, applesauce, bread, veggies & dessert!

      Thereafter, one by one they visited us or introduced us to other former Amish. One night we got a phone call from the cousin of two Amish who just left and were hoping someone would pick them up from WalMart to give them a place to stay.

      The Amish – as do their former – are extremely connected. EVERYONE IS A RELATIVE OF SOME SORT OR A NEIGHBOR.


    Hello my name is Israel I have a friend that’s looking for any resources on how to birth certificate on three of her kids in Oklahoma city is there any information on the process how to get them we both were raised in cult that had home birth with out certificate your her would be greatly appreciated thanx …. israel

  3. Hi Israel,
    Thank you very much for contacting me. I think I have the exact right advice for you. Contact my friend and colleague Brenda Nixon.
    She is the author of “True Amish Stories.”
    Her e-mail is Here is her blog:
    Be amazed, shocked, or amused as you expand your Amish cultural literacy from a “mom to Ex-Amish.” True Amish Stories Intrigued with the Amish? Facts are stranger than fiction! From my experiences as a “mom to ex-Amish” and life with former-Swartzentruber family and friends, I give honest and accurate information. … Brenda. 4/27/17. The Good …

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