Woman at center of adoption scandal speaks out

Dr. Phil McGraw tells “GMA” about his exclusive interview with Natalia Barnett, whose former adoptive parents are now facing jail time.
6:37 | 11/07/19

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Transcript for Woman at center of adoption scandal speaks out
Back now with that wild story about an Indiana couple charged with abandoning their adopted daughter who has a rare form of dwarfism. Now the adopted daughter is speaking out for the first time in an interview with Dr. Phil. He will join us live after this report from Paula Faris. I guess it comes down to whether or not you are an evil psychopath demon child that's come over here to murder everybody. Reporter: Natalia Barnett, the girl so ten of the adoption can skalg speaking out for the first time. There's been a lot of controversy obviously about your age because of the family that you were with before. How old are you? I'm 16. You're 16. Yes. Her former adoptive parents Michael and Kristen Barnett are facing jail time after being charged with neglect for allegedly abandoning her. They say that you scammed them, that you lied about your age and came over here and terrorized them. It's not true at all. Reporter: They both pleaded not guilty and say they believed she was 6 years old when they adopted her in 2010 but soon after they began questioning Natalia's age. The Marion county superior court ruled that her birth year would be changed from 2003 to 1989 effectively changing her from 8 to 22 years old. Reporter: Michael Barnett recently told us Natalia was trying to harm them. Natalia would do things like place clear thumbtacks on the stairs face up so when we would walkthe stairs we would be stepping on thumb tacks to injure ourselves. Reporter: Natalia who suffers from a rare form of dwarfism is sharing her side of the story. Why did they want to get rid of you so badly? I don't know. I discuss know that a lot of stuff happened and Kristine started questioning my age. Reporter: Natalia who spoke with her new adoptive parents by her side never lied about her age. They claim they did bone scans and all that. I don't remember going threw a bone scan. I remember going through a bone scan in Michigan. And the bone scan in Michigan said she was 14. I even have paperwork saying that. Reporter: And says she never tried to harm the barnetts. Did you ever stand at the foot of their bed, around their bed in the room, watched them sleep with a knife in your hand? No, never. Did you ever want to stab them? No. Reporter: For "Good morning America," Paula Faris, ABC news, New York. Thanks, Paula for that. We're joined by Dr. Phil Mcgraw. What a strange tortured story. So hard to sort through. It really is and it's interesting, but they -- the family, the barnetts, got an apartment, paid up the rent for an extended period of tile, gave her some food stamps and left her there and whether she's 8 or 16 at the time, she didn't have the ability to reach the countertop. She didn't have the ability to move around, go to the store or whatever so she was just abandoned but they say that she tried to poison the mother with bleach, push her into an electric fence. Tried to kill her. Those number stacks on the stairs. Yes, and she says that she was set up. That they absolutely conspired set her up. With regard to the bleach her mother accused her of trying to put this cleaner in her coffee. She denied it and her mother said you did it like this, let me show you and had her actually go through the act and took a picture of her when she was role playing it and said now I've got a picture of you doing it so she's very specific about how it What's your sense? On the whole age 8 she says she's 16, the barnetts say she's an adult and hard to figure that out. It is, George. I don't think she knows. Think about this, when you're a child coming from a group home in a foreign country where it's not like here they didn't celebrate every one of her birthdays in this group home. I don't think she knows how old she is. I think she knows the difference between 8 and 20. I don't know if she knows whether she was 8, 9, 12, 11. For her to say 16 I don't think she knows how old she is but she knows that she says now according to the court she would be 30 and I certainly don't think this individual is 30 years old. So I think the court has done a real miscarriage of justice here in reaing her the way they have and I don't think that there's really medical support for that, but either way, this child -- the thing that bothers me, when you adopt a child, that child is yours. Just the same as if you birthed that child at the time. You can't abandon them. I didn't know you could quit when you had children. Just drop them off somewhere. Did you find her convincing when she was denying charges of terrorizing the family. DI find her convincing and she also had a pretty well practiced story about how those stories came out. So I do think she's thought about this a lot. But she's very articulate. She's very expressive. Speaks English well. Very well and I certainly believe she's spent six years with this family and they say no one has -- she's not done anything -- They have a close relationship. And it's never happened with them but I will tell you this since she's been here she's been with close to 30 families and there has been some violence in the background with some of these families while she was there, and she's very vague about who they were and where they were and it sounds strange. How could she be with so many families but I work in the foster care system and, you know, you can in be a home for three or four days and move to another and move to another. So it's not clear cut but I certainly don't believe she's 30 years old. I certainly don't think that she was 21 when she was left in this apartment by herself. And this family that she's with now found her. She just wandered off and set down on the porch to get out of the sun and they happened on to her and she's been with them ever since. Six years. Fascinating stuff. The exclusive interview airs today.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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