Just over a week ago, 6-year-old Lexi was driven away from her foster parents in California to be reunited with extended family in Utah. Since then, foster parents Rusty and Summer Page have launched a nationwide campaign to gain custody of Lexi and bring her back to California. There's the petition with more than 112,000 supporters; there's the GoFundMe campaign that's raised more than $41,000; there's the Facebook page with about 30,000 Likes. These are all people with Lexi's best interests at heart — but personally, I think Lexi's best interests are exactly why you shouldn't sign a "Save Lexi" petition.
The Pages took in Lexi when she was 2 years old, and she spent four years under their care while they attempted to adopt her. Rusty Page said it was "a matter of simple human decency" to keep Lexi with her foster parents, according to CNN.
"How is it that a screaming child, saying 'I want to stay, I’m scared' — how is in her best interest to pull her from the girl she was before that doorbell rang?" Page told KNX-AM radio, according to the Associated Press.
On the other hand, Leslie Starr Heimov, the executive director of the Children's Law Center of California, told CNN that Lexi's extended family has been waiting for Lexi for three years now. According to Reuters, the National Indian Child Welfare Association released a statement to the same effect, saying, "The only surprising turn of events is the lengths the foster family has gone ... to drag out litigation as long as possible, creating instability for the child in question."
I can't imagine what the Pages are going through at the moment, or what Lexi's biological father went through during the last few years. But the thing is, the most important person here is Lexi. She has already gone through more turbulence in her six years than many children have, and the main goal should be to keep her life as stable as possible.
Lexi is now with her extended family and her biological sister in Utah. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Lexi and her extended family have had monthly visits and Skyped at least once a week prior to her relocation. Page himself told TIME that Lexi's extended family seemed like well-meaning people who would make great parents.
The Pages have filed an appeal, and Page told People they will not stop until they have Lexi back. "We will continue to expeditiously pursue our appeal through the state courts in California, and, if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Court," said the Pages' lawyer, Lori Alvino-McGill, in a statement.
To me, that sounds like more years of turbulence for Lexi. If she has been placed with a family who loves her and cares for her, let's give her the time and space she needs to become comfortable and stable. After all, that's the entire point of the foster and adoption system: to make a child's life as stable as possible. Signing a petition, raising funds, and pushing for Lexi's return means pushing for more instability for her. And isn't that the opposite of what everyone wants?