Adopted Ukrainian Dwarf Girl Tells Dr. Phil She’s A 16-Year-Old And Not An Adult Sociopath As Her Adoptive Parents Say

Michael Barnett and his ex-wife Kristine Barnett face neglect charges for leaving their adopted daughter Natalia on her own while they moved to Canada in 2013. But she maintains she's just 16-years-old.

iStockphoto / kieferpix

There is a new chapter in the intriguing story of the adopted Ukrainian girl whose adoptive parents claimed she was a sociopath adult and abandoned the girl while they moved to Canada. Natalia Grace Barnett, the girl adopted from Ukraine by Indiana parents, gave an interview to Dr. Phil, where she accused her adoptive parents of lying about her.

In April 2010, Kristine and Michael Barnett adopted Natalia Grace Barnett from Ukraine when she was 6-years-old, and her birth certificate said she was born on September 4, 2003. But shortly after the adoption, the parents became suspicious of Natalia’s actual age.

The Barretts then declared that Natalia was not a young girl but was an adult who looked younger because of her spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia, a form of dwarfism. Kristine said she took Natalia to the doctor who reportedly noticed that the child had adult teeth, and was concerned that she hadn’t grown and stood at only 3-feet-tall.

Natalia underwent surgery, and she believes that is the moment when Kristine started questioning her adopted daughter’s age. Kristine alleged she found signs of Natalia having her menstrual cycle.

Kristine said that her adopted daughter was a “sociopath,” and allegedly attacked the couple’s two sons. Kristine also said that her daughter drew pictures of her murdering the Barrett family, poured bleach in her coffee, admitted she was trying to poison her, and tried to push Kristine into an electric fence at a birthday party. “Natalia had poured Pine-Sol into Kristine’s coffee cup on the counter,” Michael said. Natalia denied all of these allegations on Dr. Phil.

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“The doctors all confirmed she was suffering a severe psychological illness only diagnosed in adults,” Kristine alleged. Natalia was placed in a state-run psychiatric unit after the death threats.

The Barretts asserted that Natalia is a con-artist who was pretending to a child, but she was actually 22-years-old. In 2012, the Marion County Superior Court in Indianapolis, Indiana, determined Natalia was born in 1989. The parents legally changed her age to 22 in an Indiana Probate Court.

In July 2013, the Barretts provided Natalia with an apartment as the family moved out of the country and relocated to Canada. Natalia was evicted from her apartment in May 2014.

After a five-year investigation, authorities charged Kristine and Michael Barnett with two counts of neglect of a dependent for abandoning their daughter. Kristine surrendered to authorities on September 19 and was released on a $5,500 bond. Michael gave himself up on September 18 and was released after posting $5,000 bail.

In the Dr. Phil interview, Natalia said that she was “8-years-old, maybe almost nine” when she first started living on her own. Natalia was getting food by her landlord taking her to the local gas station to get groceries. She added that the “Barnetts gave me like food they didn’t eat, like canned foods and stuff like that.”

Natalia said she was “scared” and “confused” about living alone in the apartment. She said that Michael Barnett paid for all of the bills for her to live in the apartment.

Dr. Phil McGraw was highly suspect that an 8-year-old could live by themselves in an apartment with zero guidance or supervision. “You don’t come across as a 16-year-old,” Dr. Phil said. “You come across much more mature than a 16-year-old.”

In 2016, Natalia was adopted by another Indiana couple: Antwon Mans, a 36-year-old who was recently ordained as a pastor, and his 39-year-old wife Cynthia Mans. The Mans family first met Natalia at a neighbor’s porch after Cynthia’s friend asked her to come over and meet the girl.

RELATED: Indiana Couple Charged With Abandoning Their 9-Year-Old Daughter Allege She Was A 22-Year-Old Con Artist With Dwarfism

Natalia told Cynthia that she was 22-years-old, but Mans knew that she was much younger. She went back to Natalia’s apartment and was shocked that this young girl was living on her own. Cynthia offered Natalia to come back to her home and talk to her children. Natalia agreed, and she started living with the Mans family.

The couple and their adopted daughter appeared on the Dr. Phil show this week where Natalia disputed the claims made by her previous parents including her age and that she is a scam artist.

“It’s not true. It’s not true at all. I just want people to hear my side,” Natalia said as she sobbed on the show. “I don’t want people to be scared of me because of what they read. I want them to see the genuine me.”

Natalia contradicted her previous parents who said she was an adult by confirming that she was born in 2003 and is 16-years-old.

During the interview, Natalia said she doesn’t want the Barnetts to go to jail, but “it’s not right to do that to a child” and they should “do their time, get it over with and get right with God.”

“I don’t want people to see me as what they have been saying I am,” Natalia said.

So do you think Natalia is 16-years-old or 29-years-old?