On all of those counts, the Page family failed Lexi.
In a video posted on the family's "Save our Lexi" Facebook page late Monday, foster father Rusty Page said the family's "hearts are broken" after Lexi, who had lived with the family for more than four years, was taken away hours earlier to be placed with her relatives in Utah as ordered by a court. By court order, the Pages weren't allowed to tell Lexi beforehand she'd be taken, the Los Angeles Times reports. I'm scared. I'm scared.
"Please help!" he pleaded before a gaggle of news cameras assembled in the driveway.
"We know many people are angry and we are, too, but we must do not forget to focus our angry rightly".
Now 6 years old, Lexi was on Monday taken from her foster family - due to the federal law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, children of Native American descent are supposed to live with Native American families.
The court said Brown could not rely on the Indian Child Welfare Act for relief because he did not have legal or physical custody at the time of adoption proceedings, which were initiated by the non-Native American birth mother without his knowledge.
"The tribe's values of faith and cultures are what makes our tribal identity so important to us".
Lexi is 1/64th Choctaw Native American on her birth father's side, and courts have rejected her foster family's efforts to keep custody of the child.
Her father "has an extensive criminal history and also lost custody of one other child", according to the documents.
"The Choctaw Nation desires the best for this Choctaw child", the Nation said in a statement. Do not force her to spend one more night away from us and her siblings. They also represent Lexi's interests in this case.
In a statement the Choctaw Nation said it believed this move was what was "best" for Lexi. Lexi is 1.56 percent Choctaw.
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The family's lawyer, Lori Alvino McGill, filed the request for the California Supreme Court to hear the appeal. "She's part of our family with everything but her last name". In 2014, however, the Pages went to court to establish "de facto parent" status―giving them the same rights and standing as biological parents―which was unanimously rejected by a California appeals court.
"What happened [Monday] should never happen, to any child".
"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. "We, as a tribe, are required to follow federal law".
"It would be fairly extraordinary for an appeals court to reverse that", he said. The child is usually taken by a social worker or in better situations, a family member is waiting for the child to take her to her new home.
"Our family is so incredibly devastated", the family said in a statement.
To make things even more complicated, the Utah family is not Native American, though Summer Page, Lexi's foster mom, claims Native American heritage.
At 2-years-old, Lexi was placed with foster parents the Pages and reportedly bonded and thrived.
The tribe said Lexi's Utah relatives have "created a loving relationship with her".
The Pages say they are the only family Lexi knows. Why, after a judge decided that Lexi's extended family would be a good placement, did an appeal keep her from them for another two years? He responded, "I have to because the county of L.A. said I had to".
Once a child is placed with a Native American family, it is highly unlikely that the decision would be reversed, he added. "Rather the issue is whether the child is a citizen of the tribe in question or eligible for citizenship".
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