A 6-year-old California girl whose birth parents were plagued by substance abuse and criminal infractions was taken in at age 2 by a foster family. But Alexandria (aka Lexi) is also 1/64th Choctaw Native American, which means where she ends up is dictated by 1978's Indian Child Welfare Act—a law that "seeks to keep American Indian children with American Indian families." Rusty and Summer Page had long fought to retain custody of Lexi, but on Monday the girl was removed from their home by the LA Department of Child & Family Services, NBC News reports. "Our family is so incredibly devastated," the Pages said in a statement, "but nobody could possibly be more devastated than our 6-year-old daughter." By court order, the Pages weren't allowed to tell Lexi beforehand she'd be taken, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Lexi is now with a Utah couple related by marriage to Lexi's biological dad, who has Choctaw blood but has never lived on a reservation himself. The move came after "reunification efforts" with Lexi's biological dad went south, and he, the tribe, and DCFS recommended Lexi go to Utah—even though that couple is "non-Indian" and Summer Page actually does have "American Indian heritage," per the Pages' Change.org petition. The National Indian Child Welfare Association says in a statement that foster care is meant to be "temporary," not to "fast-track the creation of new families when there is extended family available"; a Choctaw Nation statement says the Pages always knew the goal was to place Lexi with "family." On Tuesday, the Pages appealed to California's highest court to reverse the decision, reports the AP. (This London mom sued NYC after her child was put in foster care.)