Face of the day


Samuel Forrest with his son Leo

Today’s face of the day was forced to choose between his wife and his son. It is a choice no man should have to make but due to cultural differences and an intolerant society in Armenia pressure was put on his wife to give her baby up.

In a second article she explains her side of the story saying that she felt it was better for her son that she loves to live in New Zealand where he would be treated better. However she fails to say why she filed for divorce and decided not to move to New Zealand with her husband and son.

12:05, 6 February 2015
A HEARTBROKEN father has been made to choose between his wife and his son after their baby boy was born with Down?s Syndrome.

Samuel Forrest?s wife Ruzan Badalyan gave birth to their first child Leo on January 21 in an Armenian hospital .

But just a week after welcoming Leo in the world, Ruzan filed for divorce because she feared his disability would bring ?shame on her family?.

Samuel has vowed to be a good father to his son, and his story has inspired strangers to donate more than ?114,000 to support the young family.

Samuel told how after his wife gave birth in Armenia, where the couple live, they were given the unexpected news that their son had Down syndrome.

Samuel, originally from Auckland, New Zealand, told ABC News: “This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little 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 real problem with your son’.”

He was told that his newborn was disabled, but he was still overcome with joy as becoming a father for the first time.

His wife however refused to touch her son, because in Armenian culture a child with such a disability brings ‘shame’ upon the family.

Samuel, a freelance business contractor, added: “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.”

But when he returned to his wife’s room in the hospital, he was stunned with her reaction.

He was given an ultimatum, that if he wanted to keep the child, then she would leave him.

He said: “What happens when a baby like this is born here, 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.”

One week after she gave birth, Leo’s mother filed for divorce.

But the proud father now hopes to bring Leo back to his homeland in New Zealand, where the loving support of Samuel’s family awaits.

But doing it alone will be a struggle, so he set up a GoFundMe page and the internet has shown incredible support for his emotional story.

He said: “I don?t have a lot, I have very little in fact. The goal is to raise enough for a year so I can get a part-time job so Leo doesn’t have to be in daycare and I can help care for him.”


Samuel Forrest with his wife

Samuel Forrest with his wife