Where Are Kristine And Michael Barnett Now?

In 2010, Kristine and Michael Barnett of Indiana adopted a young Ukrainian girl named Natalia Grace, who was no more than 6 years old — or so they thought. When Natalia arrived in the country, things didn't add up: She displayed physical characteristics consistent with someone in adolescence and behaved in a manner beyond her purported young age. The Barnetts, who have since divorced and moved to Canada, suspected they got more than they bargained for.

When the adoption happened, the family was aware that Natalia lived with dwarfism — a genetic condition that typically prevents individuals from growing more than about 4 feet tall. More than that, though, Natalia didn't appear to be a child at all but an adult living with dwarfism. In 2012, an Indiana court revised Natalia's birth documents at the behest of the Barnetts, putting her in her 20s rather than 10, according to Journal & Courier. The Barnetts then signed Natalia up for federal aid, made independent living arrangements for her, and left the country for Canada, where they remained as of 2019, per the CBC.

Before long, though, the Barnetts were back in the U.S. facing neglect charges. Given her legal age and disability status, Natalia was seen as a dependent in the eyes of the law — not a child. In her own testimony, Natalia said she was either 19 or 33, but given the Indiana court ruling, her legal age was locked in place, the Journal & Courier writes.

The Barnetts claimed Natalia was violent

Complicating the matter, Kristine and Michael Barnett — who had three children prior to adopting Natalia — alleged their adopted daughter was violent, threatening the safety of Kristine and the other children in the home on several occasions. According to the Barnetts, there was an instance of attempted electrocution and poisoning, among other examples, People reports. As Indiana State Police Detective Brandon Davenport said in his court testimony, Michael (pictured) likened Kristine and Natalia's relationship to World War III.

According to Davenport, Michael told him Kristine and Natalia were always arguing and at odds with one another, but Michael and Natalia reportedly had fewer issues (via the Courier & Journal). In her testimony at Michael's trial for neglect, Natalia Grace said she was blindsided by the Barnetts' alleged abandonment and left unable to take care of herself, even in her supposed 20s. At Michael's trial, Natalia testified (via the Courier & Journal), "I wanted to be with the Barnetts. I wanted to live with them." Luckily, she was taken in by another family.

The charges against the Barnetts were dropped

Although uncertainty remains about Natalia Grace's real age and what may have motivated the Barnetts to leave her behind in Indiana, Kristine Barnett's charges of neglecting a dependent were dropped in 2023 for insufficient evidence. Michael Barnett, who stood trial separately, was found not guilty that same year, the Associated Press reported (via Fox News).

As of 2019, the CBC reported both Michael and Kristine Barnett (pictured) seemed to still live in Canada, though divorced. But when approached about her current whereabouts, Kristine declined to comment. According to the Barnetts, they moved to Canada so their gifted son could attend a Ph.D. program while still a teenager. In 2013, Kristine published "The Spark," a memoir about raising a reported genius.

According to Insider, in 2019, Natalia appeared on the "Dr. Phil" show and denied she lied about her age — which was legally 30 at the time of the interview. "I certainly don't think this individual is 30 years old, so I think the court has done a real miscarriage of justice here in reading her the way they have," Dr. Phil later said, adding that there was insufficient medical evidence to support the decision. Per the CBC, a 2012 skeletal survey of Natalia revealed at her initial age document hearing estimated her around 11 years old.