Updated 09 February 2015

Dad's plea for Down syndrome baby goes viral

This father appealed for help after his wife forced him to choose between her or their newborn baby boy.

Some people feel extremely blessed to be parents to a Down syndrome baby, however, others feel ashamed.

This is the case of Samuel Forrest's wife, who he said refused to look at or touch their son Leo who was born on January 21 in Armenia.

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder characterised by distinct physical characteristics and varying degrees of cognitive dysfunction that range from mild to severe.

Read: 10 Down syndrome facts

Although Down syndrome is considered a genetic disease, most cases are not inherited. Instead, the disorder is usually caused by a spontaneous mutation, or mistake, during the development of the egg, sperm, or embryo.

The 36-year-old told Kidspot that doctors said they had 10 days to decide if they wanted to keep Leo. “But once I held him in my arms, I fell in love with him ... I said to the doctors that he was absolutely beautiful, of course I was going to keep him."

However, Forrest's wife gave him an ultimatum.  

"She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce," he said, reported ABC News.  "I looked at this guy and I said, he's beautiful - he's perfect and I'm absolutely keeping him."

Read: Could Down syndrome be reversed?

One week later, Forrest's wife filed for divorce.

This sad story exposes Armenia's hidden shame - scores of forgotten babies who are abandoned each year over physical or intellectual disabilities.

Image: Leo Forrest was born on the morning of January 21, weighing a healthy 3.9kg. (GoFundme)

Forrest says he wants to give Leo "love, cuddles & devotion" and is planning on returning to his home country New Zealand. He turned to crowdfunding site, GoFundMe, launching a campaign called 'bring Leo home' to raise $60 000 to go back to New Zealand and to be home to care for Leo.

Here is his post:

After 10 days, a total of 6 520 people opened their wallets raising $196 465. In response to the overwhelming support, Forrest said some money will be given to the only orphanage in Armenia that regularly takes in abandoned Down syndrome babies.

Here is his post

Forrest says he loves his wife dearly. Let's hope that she has a change of heart, after all we don't know how she really feels and being harsh on her would make us similar to those in Armenia who looks down on anyone who is less than perfect in their eyes.

Also read:

New Down syndrome guidelines
How a mom allegedly killed her son with salt

Dad throws 5-year-old daughter off bridge


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