Samuel Forrest knew fatherhood would change him forever, but certainly didn’t have the foresight to truly know the degree of immediate change he was facing.
Forrest’s son, Leo, was born with Down syndrome in Armenia on January 21, 2015 . He told ABC News:
This pediatrician walks out of the room with the 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 problem with your son.’
As any new parent would, Forrest said the news was shocking and had to sink in.
When I walked into the room they all turned to me and said ‘Leo has Down syndrome.’ I had a few moments of shock.
Hospital officials, as well as Leo’s mother, encouraged Forrest to send his son to an orphanage, which he says is the fate of an estimated 98 percent of all Down syndrome babies born in Armenia. However, he had no intentions of accepting such a suggestion.
They took me in [to] see him and I looked at this guy and said, ‘He’s beautiful – he’s perfect and I’m absolutely keeping him.’
A week later, Ruzan Badalyan, Leo’s mother, filed for a divorce.
With no family support and an unwillingness to raise his son in a society that discards children born with Down syndrome, Samuel Forrest decided he wanted to go back to his home country of New Zealand. He is going to Bring Leo Home.
Within a week of creating the GoFundMe page, the $60,000 goal was reached. In fact, they have far exceeded the goal and the amount is currently over $300,000, and still growing.
The Go Fund Me page has been updated since exceeding the goal.
Yet again, the kindness and generosity of strangers help restore our faith in humanity.
Featured Image and photos: via Go Fund Me