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Natalia Grace Barnett‘s adoptive mother, Cynthia Mans, has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to get her daughter a wheelchair accessible van.The crowdfunding post launched on June 1, with a goal of raising $10,000.
Following the ID docuseries The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, her story has risen to prominence once again. Cynthia first thanked fans for “all the love and support” shown to her family and Natalia after the series aired on back-to-back nights between May 29 and May 31.
Cynthia first explained that Natalia “has always wanted to visit the Holy Land Jerusalem,” which is also a “dream” she shares with her husband, Antwon Mans, and their five other children. Cynthia then revealed that Natalia is still suffering from health woes related to her form of dwarfism known as spondyloepiphyseal.
“Natalia recently went to a spine specialist and he said it would cause more damage than good if Natalia got the surgery. It could leave her paralyzed or worse. So, we are trying to get a wheelchair accessible van,” the Lafayette, Indiana, resident explained.
“Natalia is such a sweet young lady that has been through so much. We want her to be able to get in the vehicle easier which is why we are needing this wheelchair accessible van. Natalia will start attending school once she gets her new id so if anyone wants to donate to our GoFundMe we’d greatly appreciate it,” Cynthia added. As of publication, the page has raised $725.
Ukraine born Natalia’s condition is “a rare genetic disorder that results in short stature and skeletal anomalies that primarily affect the spine and long bones of the arms and legs,” according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Natalia’s family’s desire to buy her a new van caught the attention of Little People, Big World, star Matt Roloff. He urged his Instagram followers to donate to the GoFundMe page.
“Hello everyone. I was very touched by the story on Natalia Grace (Google it),” Matt, 61, captioned a post on June 3 showing a photo of Natalia with her adoptive parents and siblings. “For those that don’t know, she has the same type of rare dwarfism as me. A variant of diastrophic dysplasia. You can help her and her new family on this gofundme link [sic]. Let’s help get the new van and send them on a fun vacation.”
The Curious Case of Natalia Grace told the story of how Natalia was adopted via an emergency adoption process in 2010 by Indiana residents Michael and Kristine Barnett, who were told they were taking in a six-year-old. They began to question her real age after allegedly discovering Natalia already had her period, as well as pubic hair.
The Barnetts claimed that Natalia terrorized their family, which included their three biological sons Jacob, Wesley and Ethan, with threats of violence. Michael alleged that he woke up one night to see Natalia standing at the foot of his and Kristine’s bed, holding a knife, while his son, Jacob, said he “didn’t feel safe around Natalia.”
In 2012, the Barnetts had Natalia’s birth year legally changed from 2003 to 1989. The following year, the family moved to Canada and left Natalia in a rental apartment in Lafayette, Indiana, on her own. Michael and Kristine were both charged with several counts of child neglect in September 2019.
Michael was found not guilty of the charges during his October 2022 trial, and ex-wife Kristine’s charges were dropped less than a month before her trial was scheduled to start in March 2023.
Natalia met Antwon and Cynthia when they were her neighbors in Lafayette. When her lease expired, she moved in with the couple as a tenant. The pair ultimately adopted Natalia, and she continues to live with the Mans family.