The father who claimed he was forced to choose between his newborn baby boy with Down Syndrome and his wife reportedly has four other children from a previous marriage — including another with Down Syndrome, the 'Daily Mail Australia' reports.
Samuel Forrest, the New Zealand native who filed from divorce from his wife, was allegedly a member of the Exclusive Brethren church, but was excommunicated four years ago following a messy split from his first wife. He was banned from seeing their children, ages 6 to 15.
Forrest's son Leo. (Photo Credit: GoFundMe)
"All his extended family are also members of the Exclusive Brethren and are still forbidden by their religion to have any contact with him," a source told the 'Daily Mail.'
"It was one of the reasons why he left in the first place and went to Armenia. He had no contact with his children and saw no future for himself in New Zealand. It was all very sad."
Forrest went on to meet and marry Ruzan Badalyan, who is Armenian. The couple welcomed Leo, their first child, on Jan. 21.
Forrest with second wife, Ruzan Badalyan. (Photo Credit: ABC News)
As Forrest explained on the site GoFundMe, "What happens when a baby like this is born [in Armenia], they will tell you that you don't have to keep them," as there is shame associated with Down Syndrome.
Forrest started a GoFundMe page to bring Leo back home to New Zealand, which has raised nearly $500,000 in two weeks.
Badalyan has since defended her decision on Facebook, writing, “The first thing that came to my mind after the diagnosis was that I don't want my child to live in a country where certain stereotypes dominate the lives of people with DS (Down syndrome) and no opportunities at all."
Baby Leo. (Photo Credit: GoFundMe)
In regards to Forrest, she wrote, "After that incident, he left the hospital notifying me hours later that he was taking the kid with him, that he is going to leave the country for New Zealand and I do not have anything to do with the situation."
Forrest has since released a statement defending his wife against online haters. "Ruzan should not be the target of all of the frustrations that this situation has created. Our paths may be moving in different directions, but she is Leo’s mother and I still feel a great deal of love for her," he wrote on his GoFundMe page.
'Daily Mail Australia' reported this story.
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