Reproduced from the State Journal-Register
By Dean Olsen
A shy, soft-spoken boy from Guyana who came to Springfield, Illinois for free cleft palate surgery is on track to be adopted sometime in 2016 by the family that first learned of his plight in South America during a Christian mission trip almost two years ago.
The hole in the roof of Satchian Basdeo’s mouth has healed. Treatments to fix an underbite and dental problems — all related to a botched cleft palate repair in Guyana — are ongoing.
“He is progressing well,” Ferguson said of Satchian, 12, who is home-schooled alongside Ferguson and husband Lucas Gebhardt’s son, Brenden, 13, and daughters, Elizabeth, 11, and Emily, 10. “He’s just like the others — ornery at times and sweet at times. We can’t imagine life without him.”
Before meeting Ferguson, Satchian couldn’t have imagined life outside his impoverished home in West Ruimveldt, a suburb of the Guyanese capital of Georgetown, where he lived with his father. He had received virtually no formal education and dropped out, apparently because of teasing from other children about his appearance and difficulty speaking.
Satchian’s biological mother, Rajanie Basdeo, said in a phone interview from her home in Guyana, that her son is obviously content and wants to remain in the United States.
Rajanie Basdeo, 36, said Satchian’s desire to grow up in Springfield, as well as the pending adoption, are fine with her.
“I think he’s happy,” she said, adding that she communicates with Satchian and Ferguson almost every day via Facebook messages. “She’s taking care of him. I’m thankful every day. … I’m grateful to the people there.”
Ferguson said she has been upfront with Satchian’s mother about her intentions to adopt.”She wants it,” Ferguson said. “She knows it’s best for him.”
Basdeo noted that Satchian’s father, her ex-husband, died in February in his late 40s in Guyana from drinking-related health problems. She described herself as a housewife who lives with her boyfriend, a food store worker.