Sometimes, reality can be more peculiar than fiction. In 2010, a couple adopted a child with the intention of expanding their family.
Although it would have been a wish come true for both parties, it rapidly turned into a situation that we typically only witness in movies.
In 2010, a couple residing in Florida welcomed a Ukrainian child into their home.
Kristine and Michael Barnetts became the adoptive parents of Natalia when she was only six years old. Prior to finding a permanent home with the Barnetts, Natalia had been under the care of various foster families.
Natalia has a type of dwarfism that has resulted in her being smaller than her actual age. Nonetheless, the Barnetts did not consider this a problem and proceeded to meet her needs, integrating her into their family of five.
However, everything altered when Kristine attempted to bathe Natalia.
Shortly after beginning, Kristine exited the bathroom and drew her husband aside. She then recounted, with a sense of shock, that Natalia may not have been entirely truthful.
Natalia exhibited physical features that are typically observed in girls who have gone through puberty. As a result, the Barnetts deduced that she was older than she had claimed to be and that her dwarfism had distorted her true age.
“Natalia was a woman. She had periods. She had adult teeth. She never grew a single inch, which would happen even with a child with dwarfism,” the Barnetts said as quoted by BBC.
The story just got worse from there.
Subsequently, the Barnetts alleged that Natalia had intentions to harm their family. According to Michael, Natalia had purportedly made an attempt to poison Kristine.
In addition, the couple made allegations that Natalia was plotting to stab their family while they were sleeping, causing the situation to escalate rapidly.
The Barnetts were unconvinced that Natalia was really six years old when they adopted her.
Two years after adopting Natalia, the Barnetts brought the case to court, seeking to change her birthdate from 2003 to 1989.
According to Kristine, bone tests suggested that Natalia was around 14 years old in 2010. As a result, the couple made her live on her own in a furnished and paid apartment for a year.
In 2014, Natalia reported to the police that she had been abandoned by the Barnetts. Following this incident, the family moved to Canada to begin a new life without Natalia. Eventually, the couple got divorced.
When Natalia appeared on Dr. Phil, she denied all of the allegations made by the Barnetts.
During her appearance on the Dr. Phil show, Natalia refuted the allegations and clarified that while she was sent back to the orphanage after unintentionally injuring another child, she never had any intention of harming the Barnetts. In fact, she regarded them as the “perfect family” for her.
A judge in Tippecanoe County issued warrants for the arrests of the couple who have been charged with two counts of felony neglect.
The Barnetts argued that they were not at fault in the case.
According to Terrance Kinnard, Michael’s attorney, the Barnetts were victims of fraud. He cited hospital records from 2010 which indicate that Natalia was around 8 years old at the time of her adoption.
Antwon and Cynthia Mans are currently the guardians of Natalia. They believe that she was around 16 years old when they adopted her.
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