Natalia Grace Barnett’s former adoptive mother Kristine Barnett has spoken out after Natalia, 22, accused her of abuse in The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks.
“Natalia was a very much loved and cared for member of my family,” Kristine wrote on her Facebook page on Thursday, January 4, one day after the conclusion of Investigation Discovery’s six-part docuseries.
Kristine continued, “She was not abused by anyone in my family. Let’s get straight to these allegations. Nobody ever took a belt to Natalia and the allegations that she was ‘beaten’ are just plain false. Any discipline of Natalia was very minimal and was not out of the bounds of normal parenting.”
The Spark author added that her family, which includes ex-husband Michael Barnett and biological sons Jacob, Wesley and Ethan, “felt a tremendous amount of sympathy for Natalia and loved her while she lived with us.”
“As a parent, I have had good and bad days as a mom. There were many days raising four children I depended on the power of coffee to get me through the day for example, I was prone to getting exhaperated while cleaning, and I am certainly not going to claim I was a perfect mom,” Kristine wrote. “Anyone who has children knows that feeling of going to bed at night hoping you have done the right things and enough for your children on a daily basis. I am sure there were plenty of fails and some successes I had as a parent and mom but I was not abusive to my children.”
Kristine went on to call Natalia a “sociopath” and claimed that the Ukraine native “takes advantage of that sympathy to manipulate people.” She also denied Natalia’s claims that she was “abandoned” in apartments in Indiana and left with living conditions that were not suitable for her disability, a severe form of dwarfism known as spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SEDc).
Additionally, Kristine defended Michael, claiming that he did not abuse Natalia either. She also claimed that she reported Natalia to Adult Protective Services after Natalia moved in with her new adoptive parents, Antwon and Cynthia Mans, because she feared the Mans were “exploiting” Natalia “for rent money.”
Natalia, who was adopted by the Barnetts in 2010, accused Kristine of physical abuse, including pepper spraying her in the eyes and beating her with a belt. She also claimed that her former adoptive parents lied about her age, as they initially believed she was 6 years old at the time of adoption but later suspected she was an adult con artist. Michael and Kristine also accused Natalia of threatening and attempting to kill them.
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After two years with Natalia, the Barnetts petitioned to have her birth year legally changed from 2003 to 1989, making her 23 years old in 2012. They rented her an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana, and moved to Canada, leaving Natalia to live on her own. Michael and Kristine faced charges of neglect of a dependent in 2019, but all charges were later dropped.
Natalia took a DNA test in 2023 and found that she was 22 years old at the time, which suggested that she was around 9 years old when she was living on her own in Lafayette.
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