Dr. Phil says he doesn’t think the Ukrainian orphan accused of being an adult knows her own age

Dr. Phil McGraw talks about the Natalia Grace case on

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Dr. Phil McGraw talks about the Natalia Grace case on “Good Morning America” on November 7.
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Good Morning America

  • Dr. Phil McGraw appeared on “Good Morning America” on Thursday to discuss his interview with Natalia Grace.
  • Natalia was adopted by a family in Indiana. They abandoned her and accused her of lying about her age and tormenting them.
  • “I certainly don’t think this individual is 30 years old,” McGraw said, before condemning her adoptive parents for abandoning the girl.
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Dr. Phil McGraw said he doesn’t believe that Natalia Grace – the Ukrainian orphan accused of lying about her age and tormenting her adoptive parents – isn’t actually 30 years old, and may not even know her own age.

McGraw interviewed Natalia and the adults she’s now living with for an episode of his own show, airing Thursday. He talked about her age on “Good Morning America” ahead of the episode’s airing. McGraw said he doesn’t believe that Natalia is 30 years old, her official age after the Barnetts, her former adoptive parents, legally changed it.

“I certainly don’t think this individual is 30 years old,” he said. “So I think the court has done a real miscarriage of justice here in reading her the way they have. I don’t think there’s really medical support for that.”

The story made headlines in September, when Natalia’s adoptive parents Kristine and Michael Barnett were arrested and charged with abandoning her and moving to Canada.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges and told their story to the DailyMail.com, saying Natalia was actually an adult when they adopted her and that she tried to kill them multiple times.

Natalia and her new family recently sat down for an interview with McGraw where they gave their side of the story.

But McGraw added that he’s not sure that Natalia – who says she’s 16 – can be so sure of her own age.

“When you’re a child, particularly coming from a group home in a foreign country… they didn’t celebrate every one of her birthdays. I don’t think she knows how old she is,” McGraw said.

He condemned the Barnetts for abandoning Natalia, saying that when you adopt a child “that child is yours just the same as if you birthed that child at the hospital.”

“I didn’t think that you could quit when you had children, just drop them off somewhere,” McGraw said.

McGraw said he found Natalia “convincing” and “very articulate.” His full interview with Natalia airs Thursday.