MOORE, Okla. (KFOR) – Imagine thinking you’ve finalized the adoption of your child abroad, and then learning you can’t take them home.
That’s exactly the situation that Moore couple Carrie and Ryan Pentecost found themselves in, following the adoption of their daughter Precious.
Their journey to adoption began not long after they were married but stalled while they attempted to walk through the process in another country.
Carrie said they met their match when they set their eyes and hearts on Nigeria.
In August of 2021 the couple matched with their daughter before officially adopting her in September of the same year.
“We just fell in love with her. And we were like, ‘I think she’s [our daughter,” she added.
“We knew when we started this that we were going to do whatever it takes to stay with her.”
While intercountry adoptions to the U.S. from Nigeria and from the U.S. to Nigeria are certainly possible, it’s proven difficult for the couple, who began running into problems while waiting for an I-600 visa to process so they could take Precious home to Oklahoma.
Now, the pair is concerned that the visa request may be denied completely.
The case was sent to the U.S. Consulate for a typical investigation, but officials began to question the origins of their little girl’s birth story.
“She was dropped off at an orphanage when she was eight months old by a woman who was not her birth mother, and she didn’t sign over her rights,” said Carrie, while adding that the woman had not used her real name or address at the time, making it impossible for invesitgators in Lagos to track her down later.
“It’s not ideal that she was dropped off by someone [else], but [Precious] wasn’t healthy and no one came looking for her,” she added.
“The U.S. doesn’t agree with that [origin story], but we’re the first family [in four years] that’s come to adopt her. At what point do we say that the birth mother is not coming back, either way?”
Trying to balance lives in Oklahoma and Nigeria was a challenge, and after a year, Carrie recently returned home so she could get back to work as an educator with Norman Public Schools.
Ryan remains in Nigeria with Precious.
But as a new mom, time is ticking away, as she watches her nearly five-year-old daughter grow up thousands of miles away, on video.
“There’s nothing that we can do besides just keep reaching out, keep emailing, keep hoping and praying,” she said while walking around her bedroom on Friday.
“There’s nothing that we wouldn’t do for Precious, she’s our child,” said Carrie.
“We’ve committed to her and we plan to give her the best life we possibly can, whether that’s in America or not.”
The family is fundraising to help offset their continued efforts to bring Precious home.
Learn more about the family’s story and donate here.