The two had a sit-down conversation in a previously un-aired clip from 'The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks'
Natalia Grace and her former adoptive father Michael Barnett are reflecting on their time living together and why Barnett was told Natalia was "hearing voices."
As part of a previously un-aired clip from the new docuseries The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks, shared by ET on Friday, the pair had a sit-down chat to reflect on their time as a family.
Natalia, who was adopted by both Barnett and his ex-wife Kristine in 2010, was later abandoned by the family after allegations that she was not a 6-year-old girl (as they had initially believed). The pair adopted her shortly after she arrived in the U.S. in 2008 from Ukraine.
Natalia — who has a form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita — was also accused by her then-adoptive parents of trying to harm the Indiana couple and their biological children, specifically attempting to poison Kristine and dragging her toward an electric fence.
In 2012, the Barnetts petitioned Marion County Probate Court to have Natalia's age legally changed to 22 — a year before the couple moved to Canada without her. The show, however, includes DNA tests indicating that Natalia was around 9-years-old when the family adopted her and not an adult as they suspected.
The new clip shows Natalia sitting down with Michael, who reflected on what doctors told him about his once-adopted daughter.
"What made you guys... what made the doctors say I was schizophrenic," Natalia asked Michael directly in the clip shared by ET.
"You told them you were hearing voices," Michael shared, before Natalia asked him if he knew why. "I know now! But at the time I did not."
"At the time, you've got to understand, the only thing I know is I'm coming home and there are a lot of things being said," he said. "Really, you all saying the exact same thing? OK. And really, I don't want to repeat some of the things that were said. I don't think there's any need for it, do you?"
After some back and forth, Michael — who filed for divorced from Kristine in 2014 — reiterated that Natalia told therapists and both himself and Kristine that she was "hearing voices."
"Again, knowing what I know now, I might know where the source of that came from," he said. "But you've got to understand, all I know is you're telling me you're hearing voices, they're telling me you're hearing voices, the therapist is saying you're hearing voices, these documents from the stress center that doctors have written out are saying the words 'you are hearing voices.' What am I supposed to believe?"
In a private conversation with a camera crew, Natalia then claimed that Kristine would advise her to tell professionals at "mental hospitals" that she was "hearing voices."
"She would always tell me to tell them that 'you're hearing voices, that you want to hurt yourself, that you want to hurt other people.' And me being like 7 years old, I'm like, 'I don't know what this means but it's something that my 'mom' told me to say," she added.
At the end of the clip, Michael told Natalia that he had "to believe that and go with that," referring to concerns over her mental health at the time.
"Kristine's not my mom," Natalia then said, before Michael gave her a high-five.
While Kristine did not make an appearance in the new series, she has previously shared a now unavailable public Facebook post denying allegations of abuse and calling Natalia "a very much loved and cared for member of my family."
"If there had been any abuse of Natalia or evidence of it, I would have been found guilty of it and I would be in jail," she wrote.
"I believe Natalia takes advantage of that sympathy to manipulate people. I believe this because I sat through numerous hospital visits and therapy visits trying to understand and help Natalia and thinking we might be able to find the root of the issue. In the end I learned she is a sociopath."
In 2019, Natalia's adoptive parents were charged with multiple counts of neglecting a dependent after a five-year investigation. Michael was found not guilty of three counts of neglect and conspiracy to commit neglect of a dependent in 2022, per the Associated Press, while charges against Kristine in connection with the abandonment of Natalia were dropped in 2023, per WTHR.
Though she subsequently began living with another Indiana couple, Cynthia and Antwon Mans, and their children, from 2013, according to the Lafayette Journal and Courier, and the Mans eventually adopted her in 2023, there was a shock twist in the last episode of The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks. It was revealed that show producers had received a call from the couple indicating that they were "done" with Natalia.
“Something ain’t right with Natalia,” Antwon said at the beginning of the call. “This girl is tweaking.”
“I feel like she’s the enemy in the house,” he continued. “And she said to us, we have held her hostage. Made us look like we’re the enemy.”
Cynthia then said, “Natalia is stabbing her family in the back, over a complete lie!”
“She’s done other things too, but this was a new low. Natalia does not have emotions for nothing but herself.” Antwon added, before he revealed that, “We’re done...We’re done with her.”
Following the finale episode of the show, Natalia posted on Instagram giving followers a short update where she revealed she is “doing well,” but explained that she wasn't able to to say much more due to having to "keep things confidential for now" because of an agreement she had signed with ID, who aired both The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks and the previous May 2023 docuseries The Curious Case of Natalia Grace.
“I will let you guys know when I can for sure, but just know I am okay. Love y'all,” she concluded her Jan. 5 post.
The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks is available to stream on Max.
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