SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (FOX 11 / CNS) - A 6-year-old girl of partial Choctaw heritage was taken from a foster family in Santa Clarita by social workers Monday, despite efforts by the family and supporters to try to block the move.
Social workers arrived at the home of Rusty and Summer Page near Ron Ridge and Pamlico drives shortly before 3 p.m. to take the girl, named Lexi, so she can be placed with Choctaw Nation extended family in Utah.
The move was taken under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which was enacted in the 1970s to help protect the interests of Native American children.
The Pages have been fighting the move, but their legal efforts have been rejected. The Pages say they want to adopt Lexi and say the girl considers them and their three children to be her family.
Supporters of the family have been holding vigil outside the home for days in protest of the planned move. The Pages said earlier, however, they would not interfere with social workers when they came to take the girl.
Under the watchful eye of various cell phone cameras, social workers stood outside the front door of the home while the family prepared for the girl's departure. Supporters outside the home sang "Amazing Grace.''
The girl loudly wept as her Rusty Page carried the girl to the waiting car as supporters shouted "We love you, Lexi.'' Rusty Page quickly retreated back to his home where his other children were crying.
After the girl was driven away, supporters cried and gathered together in prayer.
A sort time later, a distraught Rusty Page emerged from the home and pleaded for the return of the girl. He said Lexi was telling him, "This is dumb, don't let them take me.'' He responded, "I have to because the county of
L.A. said I had to.''
"Bring back my daughter,'' he said through tears. "... Please bring back Lexi. This is not right for anyone. This is not right for Lexi more than anyone.''
Over the weekend, the Page family posted a note on Facebook to thank supporters: "We thank you so much for your amazing show of friendship. We have been so blessed to have people we know and people we don't know show up in person and in spirit today. We are so grateful to know that our supporters will be here through the night for Lexi and more are on their way!''
Lexi has been with the Page family for about four years.
The Choctaw Nation issued a statement saying it "desires the best for this Choctaw child.''
"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.''
There is a petition going around in an effort to help the family keep Lexi under the hashtag #keeplexihome.