What’s Going On With This Possible Real-Life ‘Orphan’ Story?
Indiana parents Kristine and Michael Barnett decided to do a good deed. So, they adopted a little girl from Ukraine, Natalia Grace. At the time Natalia was only eight years old. Or so they believed.
Everything was great until strange things started happening. Barnett’s even left the girl at one moment because they were scared for their lives and the lives of their children. Could this girl be an adult sociopath pretending to be a child? or Barnetts are trying to save themselves from neglecting child charges? Let’s unfold this possible real-life ‘Orphan movie’ story.
20. The Adoption
The Barnetts agreed to adopt Natalia in 2010. At the time Natalia was in adoption center in Florida. The little girl was from Ukraine, but she had been in the States for two years.
The Barnetts learned that the previous family abandoned her and this was an emergency adoption. They were also informed that the girl has a rare medical condition.
19. Health Record
Natalia Grace had a specific form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal, which affects her spine. And much more.
This form of dwarfism affected not only the bones in her spine but also difficulty breathing and weak joint mobility. At the time, Natalia had no idea how famous her new family is.
18. Jacob Barnett
The Barnetts have three other children, all boys. One of their children, Jacob is the now-famous physics genius. He is also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
It’s fair to say that the Barnetts already had the experience of raising a child with special needs. Although Jacob had all the time and support from their parents, Natalia had a different story.
17. Ukranian Orphanages
In the post-Soviet Union, the number of abandoned children grew each year. Therefore, several orphanages started appearing across many new-founded countries, including Ukraine.
The majority of children had some form of physical or mental disabilities. These children were so well hidden during the Soviet Union that people believed that there had no citizens with any disability.
16. New Beginning
Natalia was one of the few lucky ones to reach US soil, with the help of an agency. Since she didn’t have much luck with the first family, everyone hopped that the Barnetts will be her perfect match.
At the time, Kristine Barnett was best known as an author and motivational speaker with one expertise: raising children with special needs. But, she wasn’t prepared for was coming.
15. The First Day
Natalia was an emergency adoption, meaning that everything was done in just 24 hours. In that short period, the Barnetts couldn’t learn everything about her.
That first day, Barnetts learned that Natalia couldn’t walk, while they were in the parking lot. There was nothing in the paperwork about that.
14. The First Week
Natalia was nervous the first day so the family knew they will have to work harder to make her feel at home. So, they showered her with attention and support.
They decided to spend the day at the beach. Natalia wanted to be carried into the ocean. Michael and Katherine were physically exhausted so they asked her to wait. But she couldn’t wait.
13. First Suspision
Suddenly, Natalia just got up and rushed into the water. They had no idea what was happening. She couldn’t walk just one hour earlier by herself.
This was the first shock. They didn’t know how to react, so they decided to wait and know her better. Then Barnetts grew more alarming that same night.
12. Kristine’s Revelation
The Barnetts said yes to adopting a little girl. So, they were shocked by the little things that they were discovering each day about Natalia.
Kristine said that when she first bathed her, she discovered that Natalia had ‘full pubic hair’. According to her, Natalia also had periods and adult teeth.
11. Strange Things
Natalia had no foreign accent and she couldn’t talk or understand Ukranian. The Barnetts asked a Ukranian friend to talk with her but she couldn’t understand him.
She couldn’t describe anything about Ukraine, as well. Furthermore, she had a highly developed vocabulary for a six-year-old. Moreover, she hated dolls and preferred to spend time with teenagers.
10. Natalia’s Real Age
Barnett started to believe that her adopted daughter is actually a teenager. Therefore, she decided to seek help from a family physician and perform the bone density test.
As it turned out, Natalia was older. She was 14-years-old. That’s when things become scary.
9. Natalia’s Disturbing Behavior
Kristine changed Natalia’s princess outfits to clothes more appropriate to her real age. With this, the real problems occur.
Soon after, Natalia attacked a baby boy when he was left alone, according to Kristine. Furthermore, she started saying that she wants to kill them.
8. Were The Barnetts In Danger?
Kristine decided that she needs to protect her family and took Natalia for psychiatric evaluation. The results confirmed, what she knew already. That was in 2011.
A clinical therapist claimed that Natalia is an adult impersonating a child. The doctor claimed that she was 18.
7. Official Birth Age Change
In June of 2012, the Barnetts applied to Marion Country Superior Court in Indianapolis, Indiana to correct Natalia’s age. That was the only way for her to get proper medical care.
Judge Gerald S. Zore accepted the allegations and officially changed Natalus birth date to September 4, 1989 – making her 22-years-old. That same year the police started investigating the case.
6. Family Moved To Canada Without One Child
Meanwhile, the eldest son, Jacob got massive media attention posing as a physics wunderkind. He was even featured on 60 Minutes and gave a TED talk.
Jacob was accepted to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. The family decided to move there, leaving Natalia alone.
5. Living Alone
Michael told Dr. Oz that they found her a place. She was living near their town and they paid for three-month rent. They checked on her regularly. After all, she was an adult and she could take care of herself?
In the meantime, Michael filed for divorce, and the once happy couple was divorced in 2014.
4. New Family
In the meantime, Natalia find a new family, a couple willing to take care of her. At that time the Barnetts had no idea that they will become global sensation.
The new couple wanted to become Natalia’s guardians. Thinking she was still a child, they tried to overturn the 2012 result. That was in 2016.
3. The Guardianship Hearing
Michael Barnett showed up at the guardianship hearing with Natalia’s health care documentation and the judge ruled that Natalia was an adult. But…
Although the case was dismissed, there was one sentence that made the police interfere and evaluate the case thoroughly.
2. A Barnett Twist
It seems that Michael admitted to police that he believes Natalia was a minor in July of 2013. Later on, he defended by saying that was taken out of the context.
Soon after this statement, arrest warrants followed, and the pair was charged with the counts of felony neglect of a dependent.
1. The Recent Events
In September of 2019, both Kristine and Micheal turned themselves in and bonded out of jail. They had to bail around $5,000 each. Both are pleading not guilty. Their trial is set for January 2020.
At the moment, Natalia is living with her other family. So far, Micheal appeared with his attorney, on Dr. Oz to clear his name in October. He told his story and answered some difficult questions. For the truth, we have to wait until January 2020.