Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Natalia Grace Barnett Hulu Series Starring Ellen Pompeo

Hulu announced that Ellen Pompeo is set to star in a limited series about the Natalia Grace Barnett Ukrainian adoption case. Unbelievable that nearly three years later this case is still ongoing. Kristine and Michael Barnett still face more charges in the coming year, even after having the others dismissed and winning the appeal with the Indiana Supreme Court.  

Natalia Grace remains with her new adopted family, Antwon and Cynthia Mans. Though she would legally be an adult now based on her Ukrainian birth certificate, the question is whether she was born in 2003 or 1989. The Barnett's claim that she was an adult pretending to be a child when they adopted her in 2009, so they changed her age in court. They set her up with state services and put her in an apartment. Later they moved to Canada to be with their son as he attended college in 2013. 

Six years later, in 2019, the police filed charges against Kristine and Michael for neglect of a dependent.  Multiple courts ruled that they could not pursue anything relating to her age because legally she was an adult. Her age had been challenged multiple times and has been upheld. The state appealed all the way to the state Supreme Court where they declined to hear the case. Natalia has a type of dwarfism that has impacted her ability to be mobile. She allegedly needed surgeries that the Barnett's did not provide for her. At the time she therefore could still be considered a dependent under Indiana state law. Which is the basis for the remaining charges Michael and Kristine Barnett still face later in 2022.

There is still a gag order in place, so it's difficult to know where Hulu is getting their sources for the upcoming series. It's been reported that story was optioned to Michael Barnett, so it's likely that the series will be based on their version of events. The question is whether or not that is the most accurate representation of what really happened, not that Hollywood has ever cared about getting things right in any kind of "true story." What will prevail is whatever is the most sensationalized version and get the most attention. 

The story would make a good movie, except a movie has already been made  with this plotline: 2009's Orphan. Is it a coincidence that this movie came out the same time that the Barnett's adopted Natalia? Did they base their story on this movie as many claim, or is this just a case of art imitating life?


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