Lexi is 1.5 percent Native American and that’s enough to take her away from the only family she’s ever known.
The six-year-old foster child was placed with Rusty and Summer Page four years ago when she was just two years old. The Santa Clarita, Calif., family is currently fighting to adopt her, but because she is part Choctaw, Lexi falls under the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law passed in the 1970s aimed to protect the best interests of Native American children, reports ABC 7.
The law states that Native American children must live with Native American parents.
“Lexi doesn’t know another home,” Rusty told Fox 11. “She finally knows what mom and dad means and they want to take that away from her and we can’t stand idly by while that happens.”
Summer added, “This little girl, we are her home. This is her family and that can all be rocked tomorrow.”
The Pages expected the Department of Children and Family Services to take Lexi on Sunday around 10 a.m., but those plans were halted due to protesters who stood in front of the family’s home. Some even stayed overnight so authorities did not return Monday morning before the family’s attorney could appear in California Supreme Court to file a stay.
Thus far, Lexi and the Pages' other children, ages 9, 6, and 2, are not aware of what’s to come as the family is under “specific orders” not to tell them.
“As a grandmother, it’s ripping my heart,” Lexi’s foster grandmother, Tari Kelly, told ABC 7. “It’s ripping me apart to see Lexi has been a part of our family for almost five years and she’s not going to understand what’s going on.” She continued, “This is going to destroy these children.”
The Choctaw tribe stands by their decision to remove Lexi from the Page family home to live with extended family in Utah, who aren’t Native American either and do not live on the reservation.
“The Choctaw Nation desires the best for this Choctaw child,” the tribe said in a statement. “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.”
Lexi’s removal is expected to occur at any moment, but the Pages said they believe DCFS wants to do it away from the eyes of the media and the community. A petition to keep Lexi with her foster family has already been signed by more than 30,000 people.
(Photos from top to bottom: ABC 7 News)