Is this Ukrainian orphan actually an adult woman? It’s a crazy case that’s been getting media attention recently – a woman claims that a child that she adopted from Ukraine is actually a 30-year-old woman – not the orphan she had been told. It’s eerily similar to the 2009 film Orphan starring Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard, in which a ‘child’ adopted from Russia turns out to be a murderous adult.
Indiana couple Kristine and Michael Barnett – who have since divorced – were charged with leaving their adoptive ‘daughter’ Natalia alone in their old flat after moving to Canada with the rest of their children – and it’s been claimed they left her no money. Kristine has claimed that Natalia was actually a sociopathic adult woman, hence leaving her in the US when moving above the border.
They adopted Natalia in 2010. Told that she was six years old and living with a form of dwarfism, the Barnetts didn’t realise that anything was amiss. After a while, however, Natalia had been starting to exhibit behaviour that led Kristine to believe that she wasn’t the young girl, as was originally claimed, and in 2012 this resulted in her age being legally changed to 22, giving her a birth year of 1989 and making her an adult woman.
This isn’t the first time that the family had found themselves getting media attention either. Their biological son is a science prodigy and was featured on TV back in 2013, studying for a Master’s at Purdue University Indianapolis at just 14 years old, before relocating in Canada.
The story gets even more strange, however. Natalia is living with a new family, who tried to become her legal guardians, and don’t believe that she is a 30-year-old adult woman. After the court upheld a judgement that she was born in 1989, they were unable to. They have also spoken to the Barnett family, but were unsuccessful.
What’s the truth in this story? In 2010, a doctor decided that Natalia was in fact about eight years old, which would mean that she was telling the truth, but the Barnetts are sticking to their story. For more interesting adoption stories, go here.