California foster parents, Native Americans battle over child

March 22, 2016

y9MzYATFSocial workers removed a 6-year-old girl from a Southern California home on Monday as the child’s foster parents and a crowd of supporters protested the move. A court order stated the girl’s Native American blood required social workers to place her with relatives. [ABC News]

The girl, Lexi, is part Choctaw. Lexi had been living with her Santa Clarita foster parents since she was 2 years old, but the Choctaw Nation had been petitioning for her to be placed elsewhere under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The 1978 law aims to prevent the breakup of Native American families.

Lexi is now being placed in the home of a Utah couple who are not Native Americans but are related by marriage to Lexi’s father. Lexi’s sister is currently living with the couple, and another sister will be living down the street. Lexi and the Utah family had traded messages and monthly visits over the past three years, said Leslie Heimov, Lexi’s court-appointed legal representative.

Heimov said the law is clear that siblings should be kept together whenever possible, even if they were not initially placed together.

A court order found Lexi’s foster parents, Rusty and Summer Page, did not prove it was a certainty that the move would cause the child to suffer emotional harm. The Pages are appealing, though, and their attorney said they would take the case to the California Supreme Court if necessary.

The foster parents said they want to adopt Lexi, and the girl considers them and their three children to be her family. Rusty Page said Lexi was screaming, “I want to stay” as she was being taken away.

The National Indian Child Welfare Association issued a statement saying the Pages were aware for years that Lexi was an American Indian but chose to drag out litigation as long as possible.

Choctaw Nation leaders also issued a statement, saying they desire the best for “this Choctaw child.”

“The tribe’s values of faith and cultures are what makes our tribal identity so important to us. Therefore we will continue to work to maintain these values and work toward the longterm best interest of this child.”


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Jorge Estrada

Sometime giving anonymously is not possible, when it is done publicly the same rules apply as in letting go.


Rambunctious

Way back when I was 6 years old I was perfectly capable of telling anyone that would listen where I wanted to live and whom I considered my parents to be. Ask the child and be done with it.


achillesheal

It’s not that simple in a society of laws when the minor has no legal rights


kayaknut

“Hello, I’m from the Government and I am here to help”, be concerned if you ever hear this.


unlisted

Exactly! If you’ll think about it, that’s precisely how Lexi ended up with her Santa Clarita foster parents.


mej

Shame on the Pages for gambling with this child’s emotions. They are an example of White entitlement. They think they are the best so they spent years keeping that child from her sisters.


The Indian Child Welfare Act is straighforward and they were going to lose no doubt. I think the real criminal here are the lawyers who took their money while drawing out a losing case.


That little girl deserves to be with her blood family.


Rambunctious

“They are an example of White entitlement.”

“That little girl deserves to be with her blood family.”


I’ve not read more bigoted words in my entire life.


SLO_Children_at_play

Did you even read the article? Or is the plain English written on this page too “white” for you to understand? She was placed with non-Native American, not-blood family to be near her siblings (whom I doubt she recognizes). I guess you assume that it’s big Government’s job to just make sure white people are miserable, rather than what’s actually best for this child.


ToHellinaHandBasket

I agree with all of the comments so far. This is such a disturbing story. Demonic over reach by a demonic possessed Federal Gov’t. A beautiful child. Being raised by [on all accounts], a loving, caring family. Ripped away from that family because of an obscure law. And now, this same bureaucracy has damaged a child and her loving family for life.


It’s not surprising that a Democrat, James Abourezk, [D-SD] introduced the bill. The left has been out to destroy not only the US, but Judeo-Christian values since the 60’s. You know the jingle from the Godless left; “It takes a village”. Bullshit!


The adoptive family is now in turmoil. Young Lexi is now in turmoil. Ripped away from a loving family who she most likely would have had a greater opportunity in succeeding in life. All because of the left. I’d say more about the left and how they have destroyed the lives of those they set out to get the voting block to keep them in power, but you can do your own research on that topic.


Unfortunately because of this tragic event, Lexi will suffer for the rest of her life. And so will her adoptive family. Our Government is BROKEN and GODLESS! F-M all.


r0y

May I suggest you read the full story and re-assess what you perceive is the situation here.


I am not one to disagree that our government is out of control (because we’re lazy and let them be), but I do not think this is clearly a case where they are out of control.


mkaney

Yeah I am with Roy. I am adamantly against government getting involved n the capacity it does as far as social services, and pretty much everything else, but in this case… it looks like it was the government that caused the issue to begin with. The girl deserves to grow up with her sisters. This one time, I have to side with the government.


r0y

If anyone is interested in another take on this (with more details, and not so one-sided):

This article in Indian Country talks about what is going on, an excerpt:

The girl has been at the center of a custody battle between the couple, her biological father and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, for nearly five years. She is the second child that the Pages have attempted to adopt out of foster care, according to court documents. The first child was also returned to its extended family after a custody battle with the Pages.


Indeed, according to both court documents and those familiar with the case, Lexi has had an ongoing relationship with her relatives in Utah for nearly her whole life. The couple, who are non-Indian relatives of Lexi’s biological father, fall within the familial placement preferences under ICWA. They have visited the girl at their own expense every month and regularly Skype with the girl at least once a week. Additionally, she has visited them in Utah, as well, and―significantly, she considers them family, according to insiders.


It is not as heart-breaking as many jump in to make this, it is complicated and unfortunate that the media wolves have seized this opportunity to try and establish click-bait. So much for decent reporting.


mkaney

I think the reporting was fine on this, but the headline leaves a little to be desired. I totally agree with you on this situation though. People should not let their biases cause them to make any rash conclusions here. The girl should be with her sisters.


dogeatdog

The fact that someone wants to adopt this child is great. I would rather see a child adopted than to go from foster home to foster home and then age out at 18.


Stability is what is best for a child, not blood lines. This child is not going into an native american home, so don’t give me that BS about values of faith and culture.


Sorry you are being used as a pawn Lexi.


BigRed

Disgusting. Is this really the great “Values, Faith, and Culture” of the proud Choctaw Nation? Why doesn’t the Choctaw Nation focus on the rampant social ills in their community instead of prying this kid away from an upwardly mobile family? This deference to “birthright” that so much child welfare law is based on perpetuates these cycles of poverty, violence, and abuse. Maybe Elizabeth Warren could step in since she to is a proud Native American (allegedly).


This child has 1.5% Choctaw blood.. and her parents:


Her mother, who is not Native American, had substance abuse issues. Her father, an enrolled Choctaw member, has a criminal history and attempts to have him reunite with his daughter failed.


So she escaped this bankrupt culture and is now going to be traumatized because of some pandering legislation from 40 years ago.


Choctaw Nation, I’m not impressed.. but what else is new?


Rich in MB

Racism, plain and simple.