A married California couple has served as the foster parents of a six-year-old girl for the last four years but now stands to be separated from them due to her racial designation. A determination that the child is of 1.5% Native American heritage gives the Choctaw nation the ability to decide on the placement of children.
 
Summer and Rusty Page, have sought to adopt 6-year-old Lexi for more than two years. However, the Indian Child Welfare Act, which was passed in the 1970s to prevent Native American children from having non-Native American foster parents, gives considerable latitude to the various Native American nations. Lexi is qualified for Choctaw membership, and it is thus that the law applies to her.
 
The Pages have been fighting the move, but their legal efforts have been rejected. The Pages say they want to adopt Lexi and say the girl considers them and their three children to be her family.
 
Supporters of the family have been holding vigil outside the home for days in protest of the planned move. The Pages said earlier, however, they would not interfere with social workers when they came to take the girl.
 
Over the weekend, the Page family posted a note on Facebook to thank supporters: "We thank you so much for your amazing show of friendship. We have been so blessed to have people we know and people we don't know show up in person and in spirit today. We are so grateful to know that our supporters will be here through the night for Lexi and more are on their way!"
 
The Choctaw nations seeks to have Lexi live with persons in Utah who are not related to her biologically, according to the Page family. They are not Native American nor do they live on a reservation. However, have been visiting Lexi on a monthly basis over the last three years. Rusty Page told the Fox News network, “She finally knows what mom and dad means and they want to take that away from her.”
 
Lexi was to be removed from her foster parents’ household, subsequent to a court order in a Los Angeles courtroom in favor of the Choctaws, but state agents postponed the child’s removal that was scheduled yesterday. The family plans to go to the California Supreme Court today to order a stay.
 
Lexi’s court-appointed lawyer said in a statement, "Her family in Utah have been waiting to receive her for over 3 years, during that time they have traveled to California monthly and she has visited their home as well.” The attorney added, "The injustice here is not that she is leaving California but rather that her foster parents pursued litigation which prevented her from joining her family sooner."
 
The Choctaw nation claims it wants the best for the girl. "The Choctaw Nation desires the best for this Choctaw child. The tribe's values of faith, family and culture are what makes our tribal identity so important to us. Therefore we will continue to work to maintain these values and work toward the long-term best interest of this child," a statement said.
 
Lexi has lived with the Pages since the age of two years, joining the couple’s three young children. Summer said, "She's a very happy girl and she's a part of our family and we love her dearly," Summer said. She and husband Rusty had once supported an earlier plan that would have returned Lexi to her biological father. However, according to court records, he distanced himself from them in 2012. Thereafter, the Pages began legal proceedings to keep Lexi.
 
Dozens of supporters of the Page family crowded their home in an all-night vigil that started yesterday in hopes of deterring agents from the state child welfare agency. The Pages said they believe that California Department of Child and Family Services agents want to do the removal away from the eyes of the media and the community.
 
UPDATE:
 
Lexi was taken into custody by child welfare agents at her home in Santa Clarita. A dramatic video showed that the social workers took her shortly before 3 p.m. local time. Her hair was arranged in braids and she was wearing a pink t-shirt, clinging tearfully to her foster father. She and her foster family were in tears, along with supporters who watched and recorded the scene while shouting at the social workers. One woman called out "How do you live with yourselves?" Foster mother Summer Page screamed hysterically and wept. She cried out "I love you" as she held her sobbing biological daughter. Others in the crowd shouted "We love you, Lexi. We're going to fight for you" as she was taken away by a waiting vehicle. Rusty Page quickly retreated to his home once Lexi was taken away.
 
Over the weekend, the Page family posted a note on Facebook to thank supporters: "We thank you so much for your amazing show of friendship. We have been so blessed to have people we know and people we don't know show up in person and in spirit today. We are so grateful to know that our supporters will be here through the night for Lexi and more are on their way!"
 
The Page family has started a petition at Change.org to ask for government intervention. As of now, the petition has over 40,000 signatures.
 
 

#keeplexihome Is Live Now!

Posted by Troy Dunn on Monday, March 21, 2016

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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