He chose life and lost his wife
‘Heartbreaking’ doesn’t do this story justice.
Ruzan Badalyan gave birth to a baby boy with down syndrome. She then gave her husband an ultimatum — he must choose her or the child. Samuel Forrest chose his son.
ABC News reports:
“This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little bundle — that was Leo,” Forrest said. “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.’
Forrest followed doctors and nurses into a room where he’d finally get to meet his baby.
“When I walked into the room they all turned to me and said ‘Leo has Down syndrome,” he told ABC News. “I had a few moments of shock.”
After the news had sunk in, Forrest held Leo for the very first time.
“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.”
Soon Forrest walked into his wife’s hospital room with Leo in his arms.
Her reaction was unlike one he ever expected.
“I got the ultimatum right then,” he said. “She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce.”
Attempts to reach the hospital for comment weren’t immediately successful. The baby’s mother, Ruzan Badalyan, told ABC News that she did have a child with Down syndrome and she has left her husband, who has the child, but she declined to elaborate.
Forrest, who’s from Auckland, New Zealand, said he was completely unaware of the hospital practices in Armenia when it came to children.
“What happens when a baby like this is born here, they will tell you that you don’t have to keep them,” he said. “My wife had already decided, so all of this was done behind my back.”
I don’t want to know what happens to the children whose parents don’t make the decision Forrest made, but my heart breaks for them.
Despite his wife’s warnings, Forrest said he never had a doubt in his mind that he would hold onto his son.
One week after his birth, Leo’s mom filed for divorce.
“It’s not what I want,” Forrest said. “I didn’t even have a chance to speak with her in privately about it.”
Forrest, who works as a freelance business contractor, has plans for he and Leo to move to his native country of New Zealand where he said they’ll receive support from loved ones.
Forrest is not resting on his laurels. He’s launched a GoFundMe page to raise enough money to be able to stay at home with his son for the first year of his life. Forrest is working with local disability awareness groups, hoping he can help educate parents about children with special needs.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Forrest and his baby boy.
[Featured Image courtesy of Samuel Forrest to ABC News]
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