ARMENIA — When Samuel Forrest’s son was born with Down syndrome last month, his wife forced him to make an impossible decision — her or the baby.
According to a GoFundMe post, Leo Forrest was born on Jan. 21 in Armenia.
“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,” Forrest told ABC News.
He then took Leo into the hospital room to see his mother and her reaction was unexpected.
“I got the ultimatum right then,” he said. “She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce.”
But Forrest, from New Zealand, wanted to keep their son. As a result, he was no longer welcomed to stay in his wife’s family home in Armenia. His wife filed for divorce a week after the baby was born.
A GoFundMe account was set up to help Forrest take his son to New Zealand where he would be accepted into society.
As of Friday morning, the page had raised over $220,000, easily surpassing the goal of $60,000.
Leo’s support team posted a message to the GoFundMe page when they found out that their goal had been reached:
“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!”