Man dumped by wife because he wouldn't give up on their Down's syndrome baby
| February 9th 2015
A mother has left her husband and newborn baby, because their infant son was born with Down's Syndrome.
Samuel Forrest's wife filed for divorce just a week after the couple welcomed their little boy into the world, because she feared baby Leo's disability would bring "shame" on her family.
The wife, Ruzan Badalyan, spoke about the divorce for the first time today.
But Samuel has vowed to be a good father to his son, and his story has inspired strangers to donate more than £114,000 to support the young family.
Samuel told how after his wife gave birth in Armenia, where the couple live, they were given the unexpected news that their son had Down syndrome.
Samuel, originally from Auckland, New Zealand, told ABC News: "This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little bundle - that was Leo.
"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'."
He was told that his newborn was disabled, but he was still overcome with joy as becoming a father for the first time.
His wife however refused to touch her son, because in Armenian culture a child with such a disability brings 'shame' upon the family.
Samuel, a freelance business contractor, added: "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."
But when he returned to his wife's room in the hospital, he was stunned with her reaction.
He was given an ultimatum, that if he wanted to keep the child, then she would leave him.
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He said: "What happens when a baby like this is born here, they will tell you that you don’t have to keep them. My wife had already decided, so all of this was done behind my back."
One week after she gave birth, Leo's mother filed for divorce.
But the proud father now hopes to bring Leo back to his homeland in New Zealand, where the loving support of Samuel's family awaits.
But doing it alone will be a struggle, so he set up a GoFundMe page and the internet has shown incredible support for his emotional story.
He 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."
The story comes after an Australian couple abandoned their baby when he was born with Down's syndrome to a Thai surrogate.
The case sparked outrage, but the child, named Gammy, had thousands raised for it online by strangers who were moved by the story.
Samuel will now campaign for the perception of disabled people to be improved.
His fundraising page has had more than £110,000 donated to it so far
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