A six-year-old little girl by the name of Lexi is about to be ripped from the only family she knows due to the fact she has 1.5 percent native American blood.
The little girl has been living with Summer and Rusty Page for the past five years as a foster child. The family has attempted to adopt the little girl, but has run into numerous road blocks due to her tiny portion of native American blood. Thanks to the Indian Child Welfare Act, children with native American blood can only live with families with native American blood of their own. Unfortunately, the Page family is white.
In an even sadder turn of events, the Choctaw Nation from which Lexi has 1.5 percent blood has decided to place the little girl who currently resides in California, in a home in Utah with a family who also has no native American blood, but is from the child’s extended non-blood relatives. According to the Daily Mail, because of her Choctaw blood, the law requires that the child must be placed with relatives, or someone with native American blood.
The Page family says they have been trying to adopt Lexi for the last two and half years, but have experienced a number of road blocks due to the Indian Child Welfare Act. However, almost ironically, the Choctaw tribe has decided to place Lexi with extended non-blood relatives in Utah, who are not Native Americans and will not be living on the reservation. Therefore, the loving home that Lexi has known for the last five years is being ripped away from her due to laws designed to keep native American children in native American homes. Again, Lexi will be going to a home with no native American roots, seemingly counteracting any advantages that the law was designed to give the child.
Therefore, over 23,000 people have signed a petition begging the lawmakers in the state of California and Los Angeles to reconsider the decision to remove Lexi from the only home she knows due to the ICWA.
“To Lexi this family is her everything – her mommy, daddy and brother and sisters. Unfortunately, since Lexi is 1.5 percent Choctaw, the state of California and LA County have allowed the Indian Child Welfare Law to devastate this family and will be pulling Lexi from her Mommy and Daddy on Sunday to move her to Utah to live with a non-blood related family who aren’t even members of the tribe.”
WATCH: Family Fights Removal Of Foster Daughter After Court Ruled In Favor Of Indian Child Welfare Act https://t.co/dTeOeggGED
— Jeff Nguyen (@jeffnguyen) March 21, 2016
According to Fox 11, Lexi was slated to be removed from her home on Sunday. However, thanks to protesters, the little girl is still with the Page family as the child services do not want to make a scene when removing the child from her home.
The Page family says that they have no idea when their last day with their daughter will be, and that they are devastated by the loss and removal of their “emergency stay” which would have allowed Lexi to stay with the family as they fought the decision in court. To make matters worse, Rusty and Summer Page have been told they are not allowed to tell Lexi or their other children what is going to happen, and instead, the little girl will be abruptly removed without notice.
“She doesn’t know tomorrow might be her last day in this house. None of our kids do. We are under specific orders not to tell any of them what is happening.”
I am Native American and oppose the Indian Child Welfare Act. Children should be in a home that loves them,regardless of race. #keeplexihome
— darragh ➳ (@DarraghGrace) March 20, 2016
— Christine O’Donnell (@ChristineOnNews) March 20, 2016
According to posts in the Save Lexi group, the issues came to surface when distance relatives by marriage stepped up to claim Lexi and request full custody. However, according to the Page’s lawyer, the relatives did not surface until after three years and have never even met the child.
The family is allegedly not open to any form of joint custody or visitation, and only wants full custody. The family’s lawyer notes that this comes after they raised the child for three years and attempted to adopt her as their own. The parents say that Lexi views them as her mother and father and that it wasn’t until the bond was in place that the distant relatives stepped up to request custody of the child. Read the lawyers full statement in the tweets below.
— SP Halliday (@SPhalliday) March 20, 2016
— SP Halliday (@SPhalliday) March 20, 2016
The Indian Country Today outlines the case in full detail, and notes that the extended family has battled for custody for years as they want the child to have a relationship with her father and siblings.
The child was removed from her mother due to drug issues and the father took full custody of the child. However, after grand theft charge and drug issues of his own, the child was placed into foster care. However, when Lexi was placed into foster care and ended up with the Page family, the Pages were told that the care was only “temporary” as the child’s father wanted ICWA guidelines followed. He hoped the child would go to relatives so he could have a relationship when the time was right. Therefore, during the court case, the Pages were reminded numerous times that they had taken in Lexi knowing one day she would be removed. However, the Page family says they “grew attached” to Lexi and loved her so much that they feel they should have parental rights to the child.
“After reluctantly terminating his reunification plan, his only request was that his child be placed with ICWA-compliant relatives in Utah so that he could maintain some kind of relationship with the child, although his parental rights and standing in the case remain in tact. By that time, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma had intervened to support the father’s placement choice, as had both the child’s attorney and its guardian ad litem, both of whom were appointed by the court to protect the child’s best interests.”
It was ultimately determined that the child was best suited to live with the distant relatives so that she could have a relationship with her father and siblings in the future. The decision came following numerous psych evaluations and consideration by the courts.
“Here, the [Pages] acknowledge [the child’s] placement with them was not an adoptive placement and they were consistently made aware that the ICWA’s placement preferences were applicable,” the appeals court wrote.
“They knew at all times the placement was intended to be temporary to facilitate reunification and [Baby A] would either reunify with [the] Father or be placed with another family under the ICWA’s placement preferences. Hence, they found, ‘Even if we were to conclude the [Pages] had standing to challenge the ICWA’s constitutionality, we find their arguments unpersuasive.”
What do you think about the removal of Lexi from the only home she has known since infancy due to her native American heritage and ICWA relative rules?
[Image via Change.Org]