Wife divorced husband because he wanted to keep son born with Down syndrome
Samuel Forrest, originally from New Zealand, saw his child for the first time in late January after his wife gave birth in Armenia. Just prior to meeting the baby, Forrest was told he had Down syndrome. He was shocked, however he also knew he would do his best to raise his little boy, Leo.
Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition that results in mild to severe cognitive issues. There is no cure for it, but with early intervention specialists and therapists, a child can prosper in his or her environment.
However, its not unusual for parents in Armenia to give up children born with Down syndrome. While cradling his son, Forrest walked into his wife's hospital room and right away she told him that if he was keeping the child, she would divorce him.
She reportedly thought Leo would bring 'shame' upon her family. "The mother refused to even look at or touch the newborn for fear of getting attached in a society where defects are not accepted, often bringing shame on the family involved," Forrest wrote on his Go Fund Me page, which instantly got massive attention.
"As a now solo father, Sam's aim is to raise enough money to be able to care for Leo fulltime himself for at least a year, to give him the love, cuddles & devotion he needs to thrive," Forrest wrote.
His former wife reportedly stayed true to her word and filed for divorce about a week after Leo was born.
As of Friday, February 6th, over $300,000 has been raised so far. Stunned by the generous outpourings, Forrest posted this note:
Thanks everyone – we are stunned beyond words at the incredible support & love you've shown for little Leo.
9 days after we started our campaign, Leo and I found out in the wee hours of morning that we had crossed our target! He is a lucky guy to have the support of thousands of friends like you around the world.
Some of the additional funds that we have raised will be used to secure better living conditions in Auckland, and to give Leo higher quality opportunities when it comes to education - a good home and school cost money, but Leo will have all that and more, thanks to you.
We will use some of the money you've given to fund facilities and programs here in Armenia that will support future parents to keep their kids despite all disabilities, and to help better care for the special ones who end up away from their Mom & Dad. We'd also like to share the surplus funds with the only orphanage in Armenia that regularly takes abandoned Down Syndrome babies as well as other organisations that can help these children – thanks to your support we can start to make a difference already
Thanks again for your care and generosity!
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