(photo courtesy of Samuel Forrest)
On what should have been one of the happiest days of his life, Samuel Forrest instead had to make an unimaginable decision.
Samuel heard crying from his wife’s hospital room signaling he was now officially a father.
“This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little bundle — that was Leo,” Forrest said. “She had his face covered up and hospital authorities wouldn’t let me see him or my wife. When the doctor came out, he said ‘there’s a real problem with your son.’
The doctor told Forrest that his son had Down Syndrome and gave him the option of giving him up.
“They took me in see him and I looked at this guy and I said, he’s beautiful — he’s perfect and I’m absolutely keeping him.”
His wife, Ruzan Badalyan, allegedly had a completely different reaction. “I got the ultimatum right then,” he said. “She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce.”
Forrest did not give up his son – they live in Armenia where a majority of babies with Down’s Syndrome are never brought home from the hospital. Forrest, a New Zealander, obviously did not agree with this.
Unfortunately his wife made good on her threat and filed for divorce one week after giving birth.
Forrest plans to move back to New Zealand where he said he and his son, Leo, will receive support from family members.
In the meantime, he’s enlisted for some monetary help on his GoFundMe page titled “Bring Leo Home.” Forrest is also working with disability awareness groups to share his story.
So thankful Leo is with his father and not abandoned in an orphanage or worse.