When the Barnett’s adopted Natalia, they thought she was an 8-year-old girl. They were horrified when they discovered her secret.
The couple from Indiana believe they were hoodwinked into adopting an adult Ukrainian, who suffered from dwarfism. Now, they’re being charged with neglecting a child.
Kristine and Michael Barnett adopted Natalia from an agency in Florida, thinking that she was 8 years old. She had been brought to America from Ukraine without a birth certificate. They felt delighted about adding a daughter to their family, but it was short-lived because they found out she had severe medical problems.
When doctors told them that the girl was older than they thought, and suffered from Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia, a rare genetic growth disorder of the bones, they were shocked.
However, health issues were not the most disturbing things about Natalia.
Soon after the adoption, she began to display ominous behaviors, which frightened for her new family.
For example, she made murderous threats against family members. Consequently, questioned her age and asked doctors to do bone density tests. As they suspected, Natalia turned out to be fourteen years or older.
Dr. Andrew McLaren confirmed his finding in writing and said that Natalia could not have been born in 2003. He thought that she had mislead them into thinking that she was a child.
In 2013, convinced that Natalia was a dangerous sociopath, the Barnett’s decided to leave her in North Carolina and move to Canada. They rented an apartment in Lafayette for Natalia and left, never contacting her again.
Now, the couple is being charged with neglect and abandonment of their adopted daughter. They maintain that Natalia was not a juvenile and that she was a danger to members of their family.
That is the reason why they left her behind. “The media is painting me to be a child abuser,” but there is no child here,” protested Kristine Barnett.