After a highly publicized, controversial adoption journey, Natalie Grace Barnett revealed her biological mother, Anna Gava, wanted to reconnect with her after 19 years apart.

“I don’t want to open that door of a relationship with Anna,” Natalia, 22, explained during episode 2 of The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks on Tuesday, January 2. “I get it, you probably do wanna see me and everything like that, but I have a family here. I have my parents who raised me.”

Natalia said it was “different” with her biological mother as Anna only gave birth to her but let her go “pretty much that same day.” “It started bringing in some hurt emotions because I haven’t been in the Ukraine since I was 5,” she concluded.

In a solo interview, Anna recognized that 19 years apart was a “significant period” of time to be away from her daughter but added, “I would like her to be with me.”

“I think about it all the time,” the Ukraine native continued. “Frankly, I would like her to be here with me.”

Not much is known about Natalia’s biological mother other than she was born in Latvia on April 20, 1979, and grew up with a twin sister named Tatyana. Anna later told The Daily Mail in November 2019 that she put Natalia up for adoption because she couldn’t give proper care to Natalia’s disability and hoped her daughter would someday return to Ukraine to see her.

“Daughter, forgive me for what happened 16 years ago. Visit soon for me to see you,” she said. “We are waiting for you. You have two sisters and two brothers.”

Natalia, who has a severe form of dwarfism known as spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SEDc), was adopted by Michael and Kristine Barnett in 2010. The couple believed she was 6 years old at the time of her adoption, but Kristine alleged her new daughter was much older after allegedly finding Natalia had public hair. Michael and Kristine went on to claim that Natalia threatened and attempted to kill them multiple times, using her rare form of dwarfism to pose as a child and infiltrate the family as a “con artist.”

Natalia’s former adoptive parents had her birth year legally changed in 2012 from 2003 to 1989 — aging her by 14 years. After Natalia was declared a legal adult, the Barnetts rented her an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana, and relocated with their three sons to Canada. After Natalia neighbor’s expressed concerns about her well-being living alone in an apartment, Michael and Kristine were charged with neglect of a dependent.

Are Natalia Grace’s Adoptive Parents in Jail? Updates

Despite her legal age change, Natalia’s physical limitations due to her disability caused her to be dependent on Michael and Kristine’s care, according to prosecutors. In 2022, Michael was found not guilty of all three charges against him, and in May 2023, the charges against Kristine were dropped.

During episode 1 of Natalia Speaks, which aired on January 1, Natalia proved her current age via a DNA test and confirmed she was a child when she was initially adopted by the Barnetts in 2010. This also meant Natalia was around 9 or 10 years old when she was living on her own.

Natalia was later adopted by Antwon and Cynthia Mans, whom she grew close to after her move to Indiana.

Natalia’s story went viral after being portrayed in the ID docuseries, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, in May 2023. The series portrayed the point of view of Michael and others close to the situation but did not include commentary from Natalia herself.

Natalia broke her silence in Natalia Speaks, which is a six-part series airing on ID, and provided “insight into what really went on behind closed doors in the Barnetts’ home,” according to a press release.

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