When Samuel Forrest's son Leo was born with Down Syndrome on Jan. 21, he never thought he'd have to choose between his newborn child and his wife.
Delivered in an Armenian hospital, Forrest's wife, Ruzan Badalyan, and his in-laws were too ashamed of the baby's condition, deciding to abandon him as soon as he was born.
(Photo Credit: GoFundMe)
"This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little bundle...She had his face covered up and hospital authorities wouldn't let me see him or my wife," Forrest recalls. "When the doctor came out, he said 'There’s a real problem with your son.'"
Though initially shocked when the doctor told him about the Down Syndrome, it never crossed the new dad's mind to give Leo up.
"They took me in to see him and I looked at this guy and I said, 'He's beautiful, he's perfect and I'm absolutely keeping him,'" Forrest reveals.
"What happens when a baby like this is born [in Armenia], they will tell you that you don't have to keep them," he explained to 'ABC News.' "My wife had already decided, so all of this was done behind my back."
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Badalyan filed for divorce a week later when Forrest chose to keep their son. He started a GoFundMe page, 'Bring Leo Home,' in an effort to move back to his native New Zealand.
In less than 24 hours, he reached his $60,000 goal and has since raised more than $340,000.
He plans to use the rest of the funds to find a house in Auckland and for Leo's future education. Forrest also wants to support parents in Armenia who are raising children with disabilities.
"Leo is a lucky guy to have the support of thousands of friends around the world," Forrest wrote on the GoFundMe page.
And he's incredibly lucky to have such an amazing father.
'ABC News' reported this story.
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