Pastor Nate and I were recently made aware of a most tragic situation involving a little girl in California. If you have not heard, there is a little girl who is being ripped from her family unjustly. It is our understanding they attend Grace Community Church, the church pastored by Dr. John MacArthur, and thus Dr. MacArthur made the situation public knowledge through a recent tweet. Since that time, I have learned that my very own pastor, who attended Grace for about 20 years, also knows this family personally.
So, we wanted to take a moment to ask you to please consider signing the petition to bring little Lexi home. What follows is commentary from the petition page and a Facebook post from Mr. Matt Hand, one of Lexi’s foster uncles.
There is a 6-year-old little girl who has been ripped away from the only family that she has ever known. Her name is Lexi. The first year of her life she moved from foster placement to foster placement. Lexi has been with a loving, stable family for nearly five years and is a thriving, happy, healthy little girl. To Lexi this family is her everything – her mommy, daddy and brother and sisters. Unfortunately, since Lexi is 1.5% Choctaw, the state of California and LA County have allowed the Indian Child Welfare Law to devastate this family and abduct Lexi from her Mommy and Daddy on Monday. They have moved her to Utah to live with a non-blood related family who aren’t even members of the tribe, providing heartless and false justification. I’m pleading with you to please sign this petition & pass this around to everyone you know. LA County & California need to know that Lexi’s rights, stability and permanence matter!1
Now, onto Mr. Hand’s letter:
My letter to Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation:
I’m writing to you respectfully and in a spirit of friendship and shared humanity to plead with you over the custody of Lexi Page of Saugus, California.
I am one of Lexi’s foster uncles. My wife’s biological brother is Rusty Page, the foster-father. I give you this context only to say that I have interacted directly with Lexi for the past 4+ years. I not only know the intricacies and complexities of this legal case but, more importantly, I and my wife and children have laughed and played and celebrated holidays and vacations with Lexi for these few years. I’ve seen her blossom into an intelligent, respectful, happy, adventurous little girl. I’ve heard her infectious giggle as she splashes with her cousins in the hot tub. I’ve seen her marvel at a collection of colorful summer wildflowers. I’ve seen her dance with delight at her uncles’ weddings. I’ve watched her fall asleep in Rusty and Summer’s arms. I’ve witnessed the extraordinary care she’s received in sickness and in health from two of the greatest parents a girl could ever ask for.
I understand that Lexi is 1.5% Choctaw by blood. I respect her heritage, as do Rusty and Summer. I also understand the reality of what that means: one of Lexi’s 64 Great, Great, Great, Great Grandparents was Choctaw. 63 of them were not.
For my part, I grieve over the history of what has been done to your tribe and many other Native American people groups. It was wrong. Any abuse of or discrimination toward a people on the basis of race is deplorable and immoral. I say as a Christian that we have one Creator God who made all of us in His image. For one people to mistreat, destroy, or even be prejudiced against another simply because of race or ethnicity is a grave offense to me because it’s an act of contempt toward our God. So I’m genuinely sorry and I ask your forgiveness on behalf of those who went before me. Your people have been wronged in unspeakable ways. And I understand any degree of suspicion or self-protectiveness or frustration you must feel.
Since Lexi entered our lives, I’ve read and studied ICWA fairly thoroughly — though just as an uncle and not as a legal professional. ICWA was enacted in 1978 to stop these abuses of racism, and the manipulation and exploitation of Native American children. I, for one, am grateful for this law. Your people deserved this protection then — and you deserve the protection of our nation’s laws now.
That said, I respectfully disagree with the specific way ICWA is being (mis)used in the case of Lexi Page. As you may know, she is being taken away from a foster mom, Summer Page, who is of Native American descent. Furthermore, the court is not placing Lexi with either birth parent, nor any immediate blood relative, nor is she being “returned” to the life of a reservation which her birth father did not identify with. In fact, Lexi isn’t being “reunited” with anyone from her past. She’s been forcibly removed from a safe, stable, loving home after 4+ years and is being placed with an extended relative in Utah who is neither biologically related to Lexi, nor is any part Native American.
I wish you could see firsthand how loved and accepted Lexi was by the Pages, and I wish you could see how absolutely ruined she has been by out-of-state visitations. I wish you could’ve heard her cries and pleadings today that she not be taken away from the only mommy and daddy and sisters and brother she’s ever known. Many experts on both sides of this have agreed in court that removing Lexi from the Page family at this point will be devastating to her. I appeal to you to see that removing Lexi will actually exploit and damage her, contrary to the very heart of ICWA.
And so I appeal to you, sir, to do what is within your power to ask that a “good cause” exemption be granted in the case of 6-year-old Lexi Page so that she can stay with her foster family and not be forced to experience the undue hardship of a separation and cross-country move.
Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my request. May God grant you wisdom, justice, and grace.
More importantly, be in prayers for this family and this little girl that God may be glorified and his sovereignty remembered in however this situation is ultimately resolved.