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Thankful times for Guyanese boy from West Ruimveldt; US family adopting him

Satchian Basdeo plays cards with the Ferguson family in their Springfield home Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2015. Basdeo, who was brought from Guyana to Springfield by Dr. Kristen Ferguson, right, for free cleft palate surgery, is on track to be adopted by the family sometime in 2016. Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register

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.

But this adolescent of few words has doubled his weight, to about 120 pounds, and grown about a foot since Dr. Kristen Ferguson brought him back to the Springfield home she shares with her husband and their three children.

“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.

When asked what he likes best about his life now, Satchian seems painfully reserved when he replies, “the food” — he has a sweet tooth — and the radio-controlled cars he builds, repairs and races with Brenden and Gebhardt, 33. But Ferguson added that Satchian, pronounced “SACH-yen,” is much more talkative when he is alone with the family.

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.

Satchian still has two brothers, a sister and a stepsister in Guyana, but he is close with only one of them. Satchian said he’s in no hurry to visit and is focusing on his schoolwork and having fun with his Springfield family.

A shy, soft-spoken boy from Guyana who came to Springfield 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.

But this adolescent of few words has doubled his weight, to about 120 pounds, and grown about a foot since Dr. Kristen Ferguson brought him back to the Springfield home she shares with her husband and their three children.

“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.

When asked what he likes best about his life now, Satchian seems painfully reserved when he replies, “the food” — he has a sweet tooth — and the radio-controlled cars he builds, repairs and races with Brenden and Gebhardt, 33. But Ferguson added that Satchian, pronounced “SACH-yen,” is much more talkative when he is alone with the family.

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.

Satchian still has two brothers, a sister and a stepsister in Guyana, but he is close with only one of them. Satchian said he’s in no hurry to visit and is focusing on his schoolwork and having fun with his Springfield family.