Samuel Forrest of Auckland, New Zealand, recently shared his heartbreaking story with ABC News. According to Forrest, his son, Leo, was born in a hospital in Armenia. Baby Leo has Downs Syndrome and in Armenia, you do not have to keep your child if he or she is born with this disease. It is common for children born with Downs Syndrome to be sent to orphanages. Forrest was unaware that his wife had already decided that she would not be keeping Leo. However, Forrest took one look at his son and declared him “perfect.”
Forrest claims his wife, Ruzan Badalyan, gave him an ultimatum that if he decided to keep Leo, she would divorce him. Badalyan has claimed this wasn’t the case. She alleges that she believed her only options were to attempt to care for Leo in her native Armenia or give Leo to his father who could provide for him in New Zealand. She further claims that Forrest assisted in making the decision that he should move to New Zealand with Leo, but that Forrest took Leo from the hospital without notifying her.
Badalyan insists that she has attempted to contact Forrest and find solutions to this difficult situation, but he has refused to respond to her. Further, she alleges that Forrest has intentionally circulated his version of the story on social media and other platforms.
Even so, Badalyan filed for divorce from Forrest one week after their baby was born. A GoFundMe page was set up to help Forrest provide for Leo. It has reportedly raised nearly $500,000. “This really came out of the blue for me,” Forrest said. “I don’t have a lot, I have very little in fact. The goal is to raise enough for a year so I can get a part-time job so Leo doesn’t have to be in daycare and I can help care for him. He’s lost a lot in two weeks. It’d be different if he had his mommy.”