Over a month after her adoptive parents were charged with neglect of a dependent, Natalia is opening up about her side of the story in an interview with Dr. Phil.
The Reported Backstory
In 2010, Michael Barnett and Kristine Barnett adopted Natalia from Ukraine when she was reportedly 6 years old, WISH-TV reports. Natalia was born with a form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal.
However, according to reports, at some point after Natalia was adopted, the Barnetts started to believe that Natalia lied to them about her age. They claimed that Natalia was actually over the age of 18 and “made a career of perpetuating the fraud.“
After reportedly being examined by Michael’s doctor, that doctor wrote a note stating the birth date on the girl’s birth certificate was “clearly inaccurate” based on Natalia’s “teeth, adult sexual development, menstrual cycle.” She was then diagnosed with a sociopathic personality disorder.
Kristine gave the letter to WISH-TV as proof. However, the hospital where the doctor allegedly wrote the letter never confirmed the validity of it.
Nonetheless, as a result of the doctor’s reported findings, Michael and Kristine managed to get a judge to legally change Natalia’s age to 22 on her birth certificate. Lawyers, who once represented Natalia, told the Lafayette Journal & Courier, they did not believe their client to be an adult at the time.
“The most egregious part of it is that this child was turned into an adult without any representation, without any due process safeguards being instituted by that court.”
After her age was changed, Michael and Kristine found Natalia an apartment in Indiana, where they lived at the time, before packing up their biological children and moving to Canada.
As the Lafayette Journal & Courier reports, another family has since taken Natalia into their home, after the Barnetts reportedly abandoned their adopted daughter. And since their story was made public, Kristine has been fairly active on Facebook, defending herself and their actions.
Natalia’s Interview With Dr. Phil
“I just want people to hear my side.” While Natalia’s full interview won’t be made public until Thursday, a teaser video shared on Dr. Phil’s official YouTube channel suggests that Natalia just wants her side to be known to the public as well.
In the clip, Natalia can be seen walking alongside Dr. Phil, before he asks her if she’s a “33-year-old scam artist?” Dr. Phil even addresses Michael and Kristine’s interviews with the Daily Mail and Good Morning America, where they accuse Natalia of trying to kill them and their biological children.
In his interview with Good Morning America, Michael said this regarding Natalia’s behavior when she lived with them:
“Natalia would do things like place clear thumbtacks on the stairs face up so that when we would walk up the stairs, we would be stepping on thumbtacks to pain and injure ourselves. She had attempted to kill my wife for the second time, this time by trying to pull her into an electric fence.”
However, as the clip shows, Natalia simply states that what Michael and Kristine are saying about her “is not true at all.” Dr. Phil is also heard asking Natalia’s new family, who also had children in their home at the time of taking her in, if they had any concerns that she could be a danger to their household.
It’s unclear if the Dr. Phil interview gets to the bottom of this insane story.
The Gag Order
Nonetheless, this will likely be the last time the public hears from Natalia and her former parents, at least until their pending trial has concluded. As Lafayette Journal & Courier reported, the gag order that was served to Michael and Kristine, as now been served to Natalia as well.
The order was amended by Tippecanoe Superior 2 Judge Steve Meyer on Friday, November 1.
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