- Natalia, the orphan at the center of an adoption scandal, has been the subject of shocking allegations and multiple questions about her age from her adoptive parents.
- Natalia, who was born in Ukraine, was left in Indiana in 2013 when her adoptive family moved to Canada. The family has since alleged that not only was she terrifying and dangerous, but that she was actually in her 20s.
- As charges against her adoptive parents make their way to court, Natalia has reportedly been living with another family in Indiana.
- A family friend told the Daily Mail last week that Natalia was “in a really awkward position” and that things like schooling had been complicated by the drama from her adoptive parents.
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Amid the controversy and mixed accounts surrounding Natalia, the Ukrainian orphan at the center of an adoption scandal, she has reportedly been living with a Christian family in the same state where she was left by a family who moved to Canada.
The Daily Mail reported last week that Natalia was living with Antwon Mans, 36, a recently ordained pastor, and his wife, Cynthia, 39. Natalia’s adoptive parents, Kristine and Michael Barnett, have said she is actually a 20-something woman with a short stature as a result of a condition called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, Insider previously reported.
The Barnetts legally changed Natalia’s age to 22 in 2012, and the next year they left her in Indiana while they moved to Canada, where their son, a child prodigy with mild autism, would pursue a graduate degree in physics, the Lafayette Journal & Courier reported, citing an affidavit.
The bizarre story first made headlines last month when a five-year investigation concluded and authorities charged the Barnetts with neglect of a dependent.
- Tippecanoe County Jail
Court documents seen by WISH-TV, an Indianapolis CW affiliate, indicated that Natalia’s age was changed to 22 from 8 in 2012, the same year a scan at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital concluded she was 11.
But other documents, including an Indiana University Health report from 2016, appear to indicate that Natalia is an adult. The report, which is unverified, said that she “has made a career of perpetuating her age facade.”
“Natalia was a woman,” Kristine Barnett told the Daily Mail last week. “She had periods. She had adult teeth. She never grew a single inch, which would happen even with a child with dwarfism. The doctors all confirmed she was suffering a severe psychological illness only diagnosed in adults.”
Though it’s unclear whether Antwon and Cynthia Mans took over Natalia’s care in 2013, they officially moved to become her legal guardians in 2016 but later withdrew their petition after the court upheld a ruling that she was born in 1989 and not 2003, according to the Daily Mail.
Pictures posted on Facebook and published by the Daily Mail portray the family as close-knit and welcoming of Natalia. A family friend told the Daily Mail that the Manses “already tried to speak to Natalia’s adopted parents and tried to go through the courts” but were “just not getting anywhere and now this is escalating.”
“She is just in a really awkward position and they are trying to help her out,” the friend told the Daily Mail. “There’s actually very limited things they can do for her because people are saying she’s 30. She can’t even go to high school.”
The family’s cozy appearance on social media stands in sharp contrast to Barnett’s accusations that Natalia was a terrifying and dangerous presence who tried to stab her family members while they were sleeping, once tried to push her toward an electric fence, and tried to poison her coffee.
The Manses did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.
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