Father Refuses To Give Up Baby With Down Syndrome So Wife Leaves Him

When Samuel Forrest looked into his newborn son Leo's face, the only thing he felt was love.

The New Zealander, whose child was born with Down syndrome on January 21, crowdfunded over $300,000 in 10 days after the boy's mother, Ruzan Badalyan, abandoned him because of the little boy's special needs.

The money will help Forrest leave the Republic of Armenia, Badalyan's home country, and give Leo the care and education he needs.

Forrest told ABC News his wife demanded a divorce in the delivery room just after she learned her husband wanted to "keep" the otherwise healthy child.

He said,

What happens when a baby like this is born here [in Armenia], 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.

And one week later, Badalyan filed for divorce. Forrest, who works as a freelance business contractor, was in-between jobs and down on his luck.

Forrest decided to share his story on GoFundMe in order to move himself and baby Leo back home. And now, he has more than enough money to do so. More than 9,000 donors found themselves moved by his story.

The man plans to donate a portion of the money to Armenian nonprofits raising awareness about children with special needs, as well as orphanages caring for abandoned babies with Down syndrome.

In an update posted earlier today, Forrest wrote,

Thanks everyone – we are stunned beyond words at the incredible support & love you've shown for little Leo... He is a lucky guy to have the support of thousands of friends like you around the world.

In 2007, Armenia ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and worked with the UN to improve service for those with special needs.

However, a 2012 report indicates every one in eight disabled children is relinquished to the care of an orphanage or specialty boarding school.

While Armenia's perception of Down syndrome changes, Leo will start a new life with his father.

He's lucky to have the unconditional support of his father.

And, by extension, Leo has the support of more than 9,000 donors.

Citations: Dad Refuses to Give Up Newborn Son With Down Syndrome (ABC News )