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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Lucy Williamson

Natalia Grace's new dad 'disses' previous adoptive family with bold t-shirt message

Natalia Grace's new dad has seemingly 'dissed' her previous adoptive parents by proudly displaying a bold message on his t-shirt in recent photographs.

Ukrainian orphan Natalia was embroiled in a controversy about her age and identity, after being accused of posing as a six-year-old when she was adopted by Michael and Kristine Barnett in 2010.

The Barnetts' made claims that Natalia, in addition to lying about her age, had made multiple attempts to harm them and their biological children, allegations which she denied.

Faced with this alarming assertion, they reported the matter to local authorities and fought to change Natalia's date of birth, insisting that they had been deceived and that she posed a threat to their other children.

Natalia Grace and her adoptive father Antwon Mans (The US Sun / News Licensing)
Natalia was assumed to be a six-year-old girl when she was adopted as an orphan from Ukraine (The US Sun / News Licensing)

The Barnetts relocated to Canada in July 2013, leaving Natalia behind in Lafayette and arranging for her to live in an apartment. Subsequently, they were charged with counts of neglect of a dependent.

These charges were later dropped after a judge accepted the couple's allegations as "true" and officially revised Natalia's date of birth from September 4, 2003, to September 4, 1989, effectively changing her age from eight to 22.

Natalia herself has admitted that she is unsure about her true age but maintains that she was indeed a child when she was adopted by the Barnetts, having been placed with several different families prior to that.

She has now settled in Crawfordsville, Indiana with new adoptive parents Cynthia and Antwon Mans.

A jury acquitted Michael Barnett of neglect (Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office)
Charges against Kristine were dropped (Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office)

Antwon, determined to demonstrate his dedication to caring for Natalia and her siblings, was spotted wearing a grey Star Wars T-shirt emblazoned with the message, "Yoda Best Dad Ever!"

The symbolic choice of the shirt appears to be a subtle jab at Natalia's previous adoptive family, serving as an affirmation of Antwon's commitment to being the best father figure in her life.

The saga surrounding Natalia Grace continues, as questions about her true age and the circumstances of her past adoption remain.

Although the unusual scandal started back in 2010, a recently released docu-series titled The Curious Case of Natalia Grace has sparked renewed interest.

In it, her previous adoptie parents alleged that they discovered she was not a child when they observed signs such as the presence of full pubic hair and her menstrual cycle.

Natalia (Investigation Discovery)

Kristine said in an interview: "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."

In 2019, the couple faced legal charges of neglecting a dependent, leading to a divided public opinion.

Some supported the Barnetts, swayed by their assertions regarding Natalia's age, while others sympathised with Natalia, perceiving her as a victim of abandonment.

While she was legally 22 when the Barnetts moved her out of their house, Anna Gava – who was confirmed to be Natalia’s biological mother after doing a DNA test – claims this is not the case.

"She was born on September 4, 2003,” Anna says in the documentary.

“She was born at 6.25am in the Maternity Hospital No. 1. She is my biological daughter.”

If this is true, this would mean that Natalia was, in fact, a child when the Barnetts adopted her and left her to live on her own.

"This is one of the most difficult (cases) I've had," said Robert Cooper, a detective with the Lafayette Police Department, near to where the Barnetts moved Natalia, "It's like a Rubik's Cube, it continues to change just when you have it solved."

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