ARMENIA — It’s a choice no parent should ever have to make. But when Samuel Forrest’s son was born with Down syndrome last month, his wife gave him an ultimatum — her or the baby.
According to a GoFundMe post, Leo Forrest was born on Jan. 21, 2015 in Armenia.
“The boy’s mother refused to even look at or touch the newborn for fear of getting attached in a society where defects are not accepted, often bringing shame on the family involved,” the post said.
But Samuel Forrest, who is from New Zealand, wanted to keep their son.
Because of his decision, he is no longer welcome in his wife’s family home in Armenia.
According to the Daily Mail, Ruzan Radalyan filed for divorce from her husband a week after their son was born.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Forrest take his son home to New Zealand where he will be accepted and have the support of Forrest’s family. As of Friday morning, the page had raised more than $177,000.
Here is the entire message posted on the fundraising page:
Leo Forrest was born on 21st January 2015 with Down Syndrome, in Armenia.
His Armenian mother and her family abandoned him at birth. His father, a New Zealander, was no longer welcome in the family home because he wanted to ‘keep’ Leo. The mother refused to even look at or touch the newborn for fear of getting attached in a society where defects are not accepted, often bringing shame on the family involved.
With little work, no money, resources or family, and now no home, his father Sam wants to return to New Zealand with Leo, where Leo can have a quality of life and acceptance, integration into society that sadly, is not yet possible in Armenia.
As a now solo father, Sam’s aim is to raise enough money to be able to care for Leo fulltime himself for at least a year, to give him the love, cuddles & devotion he needs to thrive.
Your support will help to ensure this gorgeous little guy has a chance at a normal life.
In advance, thank you,
Leo’s Support Team