Natalia, the Ukrainian Orphan Accused of Masquerading as a Child, Speaks Out on Dr. Phil: “It’s Not True”


It seems we may finally get some answers in the twisty tale of Natalia Grace, the Ukrainian orphan accused of being a disturbed adult masquerading as a child by her former adoptive parents.

Kristine Barnett, a famous parenting author, and her now ex-husband, Michael Barnett, adopted Natalia, who has a form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal, via an adoption agency two years after she came to the U.S. in 2008. They were told she was 6 years old at the time. Kristine, however, believes Natalia was actually an adult. She told the Daily Mail that Natalia put “chemicals, bleach, and Windex” in her coffee, and smeared blood on mirrors in their home.

Though Natalia’s doctors determined she was likely 11 in 2012, Kristine and Michael quickly became suspicious that she was actually much older. That same year, they legally changed her age to 22 through an Indiana probate court. In 2013, they abandoned her in an apartment. Five years later, the Barnetts were charged with two counts of felony neglect of dependent. The have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

As we reported in September, Natalia now lives with the Mans family in Indiana. In an upcoming Dr. Phil episode, Natalia and her new adoptive parents share their side of the story for the first time. Hopefully, the interview fills in some of the many blanks in this long and complicated saga. (An in-depth guide to the case can be found here.)

In a preview clip of the episode, Dr. Phil presses Natalia on the accusations lodged against her by her former adoptive parents, which she says, “aren’t true.”

“I guess it really comes down to whether or not you are an evil psychopath demon who’s come over here to kill everybody,” he tells her.

The episode, titled “Ukrainian Orphan: Child or Adult Psychopath? The Exclusive Interview With Dwarf Accused of Posing As a Child,” airs this Thursday.

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