Authorities Rip Little Lexi From Her Loving Foster Family After Choctaw Nation Stakes Claim
Earlier this week I shared the story of a California family that risked losing their six-year-old foster daughter Lexi simply because the girl is 1/64 Choctaw. There's a heartbreaking update to the story: late Monday, authorities ripped Lexi from the only family she's ever known and loved in order to place her with Choctaw relatives she barely knows in Utah.
Foster parents Rusty and Summer Page and their other children, along with a group of protesters praying for the family, could only watch in horror and sorrow as agents took the girl away from the family with whom she has lived for almost five years.
The Indian Child Welfare Act, a 1978 statute designed to protect the welfare of Native American children, is responsible for the court decision which ordered the state to take Lexi from her foster family. After Lexi's biological parents gave up custody of her about a year ago, family members in Utah petitioned to move her back there, while the Page family tried unsuccessfully to adopt her.
"She's the happiest child you'll ever meet today," said Rusty. "Tomorrow ... No. She won student of the month last month at school for how caring she is for people, and people don't return that favor to her."
"The county of L.A. always talks about how important it is to maintain consistency and permanence for children, and yet they violate that today. And it's gut-wrenching," said Rusty.
Hundreds of the Page's fellow church members and neighbors looked on in horror as authorities took little Lexi away.
Leslie Starr Heimov, executive director of the Children’s Law Center of California, told the Los Angeles Times that Lexi has had regular visits with the Utah family with whom she will live, and that one of her sisters lives there as well.
"There are two families that love her,” Heimov told the Times. “The court has made a decision. We need to follow the law, and we need to enforce the court orders.”