The adoptive parents who allege that their adopted daughter scammed them into believing she was younger than she actually was have been charged with neglect of a dependent.
As Dearly previously reported, Michael Barnett and Kristine Barnett reportedly adopted an 8-year-old daughter from Ukraine. However, both Michael and Kristine allege that their adopted daughter, who is being called Natalia, lied to them about her age.
According to the letter Kristine gave to WISH, Michael’s doctor reportedly claimed that Natalia wasn’t eight years old when she was adopted, but instead over the age of 18. The doctor allegedly claimed that the birth date on the girl’s birth certificate was “clearly inaccurate”:
The letter claims that evidence of her age can be seen in her teeth, adult sexual development, menstrual cycle and diagnosed sociopathic personality disorder. It even claims the admitted she was over 18 in 2011 and she’s made a career of perpetuating the fraud.
The girl reportedly has a form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal.
As a result, it’s believed that Micheal and Kristine then legally changed Natalia’s age to 22 on her birth certificate three years after he adoption before finding her an apartment in Indiana and moving to Canada with their other children in 2013.
However, the letter Kristine made public has yet to be verified. It’s also unclear how the adoptive parents were able to legally change Natalia’s age without Natalia having any sort of legal representation on her behalf.
Now, Micheal and Kristine have been arrested and charged with neglect for their actions. Depending on what is the truth, Natalia would either be 16 or 30 years old today.
And lawyers who were once court-appointed to represent Natalia when authorities first began investigating this case says Kristine was wrong about her adopted daughter’s age. Attorney Ladona Sorenson told the Lafayette Journal & Courier:
“I do not believe her to be an adult at the time I represented her.”
And Michael Troemel, who worked with a family who eventually took Natalia in, added:
“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.”
Nonetheless, both Michael and Kristine continue to fight the allegations against them. Kristine maintains that Natalia was an adult when they adopted her, claiming they were scammed by the adoption program they used.
However, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, the charges were reportedly brought after Michael allegedly told investigators that he knew Natalia wasn’t an adult when they allegedly left her in an Indiana apartment. They both pled not guilty.
Following her arrest, Kristine has been very active on her Facebook page.
My work for the neurodiversity movement is important work and this happening to me is devastating because my real work…
She wrote in one post:
My work for the neurodiversity movement is important work and this happening to me is devastating because my real work here is to show the potential in suffering children. I have been trying my whole life to show that children with disabilities are precious children with beautiful minds who are capable and here for a purpose. I am praying for Natalia who I believe is ill and I am dismayed by the way that our mental health system treats people. The state of Indiana actually discharged Natalia into a half way house over a year before this making her homeless and mentally ill. Natalia is and always has been an adult in the time that I knew her but that did not stop me from always seeking her best interest.
As the Lafayette Journal & Courier reports, another family has since taken her in. Although legal adoption has never been pursued, according to Troemel. Troemel said the family’s goal in taking Natalia in was to get her age changed back to her original birth year which was 2003, not 1989.
However, their attempts have been unsuccessful.