Natalia Grace's adoptive parents abandoned her after having age legally changed to 22-years-old
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Natalia Grace's adoptive parents abandoned her after having her age legally changed to 22-years-old.
A new documentary, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, covering all the details behind the bizarre and harrowing case follows the likes of Michael Barnett and his wife, Kristine, who first adopted Ukrainian Natalia Grace in 2010, and were under the impression that they were welcoming a six-year-old child into their home.
The series also explores the Barnetts’ accusations of Natalia being a fraudulent 'adult sociopath masquerading as a child'.
When Michael and Kristine first adopted Natalia, they believed that she was a six-year-old child with a rare bone growth disorder
However, it was later revealed that Natalia was not who she said she was - far from it, actually.
It was found that she wasn't a child at all and actually had form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal - with a judge determining that she was an adult woman aged 22.
Legal expert Beth Karas explains in the six-part series: "The judge had a petition prepared by an attorney that would lay out the arguments for why this person is not the age they believe she is – she is actually an adult.
"Nobody knows quite what age, but she has not grown in four years, so the judge came up with his own little formula: ‘Well, you stop growing at 18 – if she hasn’t grown in four years then she’s at least 18 when she entered their lives. And I’m gonna add four years'.
"He said, ‘Okay, I find you 22'."
In 2012, the Barnetts had Natalia's legal age changed from six to 22-years-old, then in 2013, they left her behind in an apartment building in Lafayette, Indiana, and moved to Canada.
The pair were later hit with neglect charges in September 2019.
Michael went to trial in February, 2022 over charges of neglect of a dependent, neglect of a dependent causing serious bodily injury and conspiracy to neglect a dependent.
The court eventually found Michael not guilty, with the charges against Kristine also being dropped in March, 2023.
Michael and Kristine have since pushed back and instead claimed that they were victims of fraud.
The biological mum of Natalia, Anna Gava, has also come forward to reveal her real age.
In episode five, Gava is interviewed by police as part of a neglect of a dependent case against Michael and Kristine Barnett, and is required to prove she is the birth mother via DNA test.
Then, three years after proving they are related, she explains how she herself was born in 1979, before revealing her daughter’s date of birth.
"She was born on September 4th 2003," Gava says.
"She was born at 6.25am in the Maternity Hospital No. 1. She is my biological daughter."
This would place Natalia's age today at 19 years and nine months, to be exact.