Birth Mom of Girl With Dwarfism Slams Adopted Parents' Claims That She's an 'Adult Sociopath'

Natalia Barnett and her birth mother
Daily Mail

If you thought that story about the adopted Ukrainian girl who may or may not be posing as a child was starting to fade, think again. This week, her birth mom is speaking out -- and she's shutting down the claims by the girl's adoptive American parents that her daughter is really an adult woman and diagnosed sociopath.

  • After an "exhaustive search" by DailyMailTV, the birth mother of Natalia Barnett, who was adopted by an Indiana couple in 2010, was found.

    Speaking with the outlet, Anna Volodymyrivna Gava categorically denied claims made by Kristine Pearson and Michael Barnett (who were married at the time but have since divorced) that Natalia was lying about her age.

    "I know exactly how old she is," Gava, who says she is 40, told DailyMailTV. "This girl is my daughter who was born 16 years ago."

    Natalia, who stands at just 3 feet tall, was born with a rare form of dwarfism known as spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia. Although the Barnetts believed she was just 6 years old when they adopted her, Kristine later insisted that several things led her to believe they were being scammed.

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  • For one thing, she claimed Natalia had murderous thoughts and "terrorized" the family with violent behavior.

    "She would make statements and draw pictures saying she wanted to kill family members, roll them up in a blanket and put them in the backyard,’ Kristine told the Daily Mail. "She was standing over people in the middle of the night. You couldn't go to sleep. We had to hide all the sharp objects."

    Kristine claimed Natalia also tried to push her toward an electric fence once and on another occasion tried to poison her.

    "I saw her putting chemicals, bleach, Windex something like that, in my coffee and I asked her, what are you doing?'" Kristine told the Daily Mail. "She said, 'I am trying to poison you.'"

  • Last month, Kristine and Michael were charged with child abandonment after it was discovered that they left Natalia when they moved to Canada.

    And this wasn't for a brief period, either. The alleged abandonment happened between 2013 and 2016, when the Barnetts are said to have relocated. By this point, they said they had the girl evaluated by numerous doctors -- one of which determined her true age to be 22 and another who diagnosed her as a sociopath and psychopath. 

    At this point, the Barnetts legally changed her age, set her up in an apartment that they continued to pay for, and moved. That was the last time they ever spoke to the girl -- but last month, their past came rushing back to haunt them when they were slapped with abandonment charges.

    "The media is painting me to be a child abuser but there is no child here," Kristine told the Daily Mail. "Natalia was a woman. She had periods. She had adult teeth. She never grew a single inch, which would happen even with a child with dwarfism."

  • Natalia's own mother, however, insists the Barnetts are wrong -- and that her daughter has always been the age she's claimed to be.

    Speaking with DailyMailTV, she recalled her difficult decision to give up her child.

    "Doctors told me to leave the baby: 'Leave her, don’t ruin your life,' they said. Both them and my mom told me to leave her," the woman recalled. "They said the baby would never be good, that she would never be able to move, that she would be chained to a chair or to a bed."

    She believed that adoption would provide her daughter with a better life, but now thinks the system failed her.

    "She now lives in America with adoptive parents who want to ditch her," Gava continued. "I thought everything was okay with her and it turned out that it's not all okay."

  • The Ukrainian mother, who has four other children, wiped away tears as she spoke of being forced into giving up her child.

    "Daughter, forgive me for what happened 16 years ago," the mother pleaded in the interview, hoping to get a message to Natalia. "Visit soon for me to see you. We are waiting for you. You have two sisters and two brothers."

  • Kristine and Michael maintain their innocence, and insist that they weren't "fleeing" to Canada to escape Natalia.

    In fact, they say they moved so that their son Jacob, who himself has made headlines for being a physics prodigy, could attend college.

    By this point, they believed Natalia was legally considered an adult (which, in fact, she was after they obtained an emergency court order to revise her date of birth), and thought nothing was wrong with their move.

    Now, however, police have launched an investigation into this strange and perplexing case to learn who is telling the truth. According to Kristine and Michael, Natalia is a 30-year-old woman. But according to Natalia, her birth mom, and original court adoption papers, she's a 16-year-old who was left alone by the only parents she had.

    For now, Natalia is being cared for by a foster family in Indiana, who say they have accepted her as their own.