Samuel Forrest’s son, Leo, was born on January 21, 2015 in Armenia, but this dad is asking for crowdfunding help to bring his son back to his homeland of New Zealand.
The reason is to get away from Leo’s Armenian mother and her family, who abandoned the baby boy at birth when it was revealed he had Down syndrome. Forrest told ABC News he was shocked when his wife gave him an ultimatum on the spot: “She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce,” and followed through, divorcing Forrest one week after giving birth.
Forrest and the baby were left homeless and broke in the poor country, so the single father set up a GoFundMe account with a goal of raising $60,000 to bring Leo to New Zealand, where he can get the love and care he deserves.
On the page, Forrest wrote that abandoning “imperfect” babies is normal. “Health professionals estimate that 98% of all Down Syndrome babies born in Armenia are abandoned, every year. These abandoned babies are often placed in squalid orphanages, where they live and die, rejected and forgotten by society.”
In New Zealand, on the other hand, the baby will have the chance at a better life. At the time of publishing, Forrest had exceeded his goal and raised more than $250,000. Hopefully this man’s awesome choice will help inspire other families to do the right thing.
Check out Leo’s story and the video below to learn more about life with Down syndrome.
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New Zealander Samuel Forrest's wife gave birth to their son, Leo, in Armenia on January 21, 2015.
When Forrest's Armenian wife learned Leo had Down syndrome, she gave him an ultimatum — choose her or their newborn.
In poor countries like Armenia, it is tragically normal to abandon a newborn with a disability. The infant's Armenian family did not want the social stigma of a Down syndrome baby and cut all ties after his birth.
Forrest's wife went through with the divorce one week after her son was born, but Forrest refused to let his boy go.
Forrest set up a fundraising page to get his son back to his native New Zealand, where he can get proper care and the chance at a normal life.
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