In Armenia, a baby boy was born with Down syndrome. His father, Samuel Forrest heard his newborn son’s cries, as he excitedly waited outside of his wife’s delivery room to meet him. But the new father was not immediately invited into the room. Instead, this happened.
“This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little bundle — that was Leo,” Forrest said. “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 real problem with your son.’
Forrest was told that Leo was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
He was shocked, as any parent would be to get such unexpected news, but he held his son and all he felt was the overwhelming, unconditional love that we all feel when we hold our newborn for the first time. Of course there is a time of grieving for what you’ve lost and a time for processing, you have to wrap your mind around this new reality; what you get not matching up with what you’ve expected.
Next, he walked into his wife’s hospital room, holding his precious newborn son, beaming with new father pride and then the other foot dropped. His wife presented him with an ultimatum: if he chose to keep the baby, she would divorce him. She had already discussed it with the doctors and decided to abandon the child to an orphanage, a practice that is accepted in Armenia. To me, that feels like throwing children away like garbage.
Forrest didn’t want to lose his wife. He loves her. But he just could not find it in his heart to abandon Leo. He refused to give his son up. Wasting no time, a week later, Leo’s mother filed for divorce and left them both.
Now, this dynamic father/son duo are alone in the world and need a lot of help. Forrest is planning to move back to his native New Zealand so that he can get support from his family and friends.
Forrest was asking for donations to his GoFundMe page, to help cover lost wages so that he can stay home with Leo, at least for the first year. He was hoping to raise $60,000 but when I checked this morning he had raised $272, 787, which will go a long way in insuring that Leo is taken care of.
I hope that when Leo is older and told the story of how the world did not abandon him and his father in their time of need, it will help alleviate some of the sting of the fact that his own mother abandoned him.
As for the mother in this story, I feel sorry for her. She is missing out on the honor of loving and raising her child because she can’t see past his disability. People are more than disabilities and every single child deserves a parent’s devoted and unconditional love. I won’t condemn her because I think living with the guilt of abandoning Leo will be enough of a punishment for her lifetime. I feel sorry for her. She is probably one of the most hated women in the world today thanks to this story going viral.
Someone made the comment that in the United States a woman who found out that her baby had Down syndrome in utero could simply abort the fetus. I guess that is technically true thanks to genetic testing but the question is how many of us would?
It’s not a decision I could make, that’s why I refused genetic testing for Down syndrome with my first two pregnancies because for me, it wouldn’t have made a difference but that is just how my heart chose and it’s easy to sit on my moral high horse when I never actually had to make that decision.
I want honest answers, so comment anonymously if you want to, but what do you really think of the practice of being able to walk away from a baby born with Down syndrome or any other disability?