Sometimes the law just doesn’t make sense. On Monday, a little girl in California was taken from her foster family of four years because she is 1.56 percent Choctaw Native American.
According to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, which “seeks to keep American Indian children with American Indian families,” Lexi’s heritage, no matter how small, means she can’t legally stay with her foster parents, Rusty and Summer Page.
Instead, she’ll be taken to live with “extended” family in Utah, who wanted to adopt her in 2011, though they have never met her. The couple are not Native American and are only related to Lexi through her step-grandfather.
The Page family, however, is not letting go of Lexi without a fight. Though they’re still embroiled in a custody battle with the family in Utah, both Rusty and Summer have taken to social media to tell their story and started a petition called “Keep Lexi Home.”
“There is a 6 year old little girl who has been ripped away from the only family that she has ever known,” the petition says. “To Lexi this family is her everything – her mommy, daddy and brother and sisters.”
So far, over 71,000 supporters have signed the petition and some even went to the Pages’ home Monday in attempt to block police officers from taking Lexi away. A user captured the emotional scene below and shared it on Facebook. Lexi is shown teary-eyed and clutching her teddy bear as her foster dad carries her out to a car.
“Our family is so incredibly devastated. Our hearts are broken and we are trying to make sense of everything that has happened,” said the Page family.
In response to all this, the National Indian Child Welfare Association has stood by the law, saying, “The foster family was well aware years ago this girl is an Indian child, whose case is subject to the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act. . . . We believe that following the Choctaw Nation’s values is in Lexi’s best interest.”