A Father's Love
What would you do if your child was born with a disability or just different than you had expected? Would you love him/her anyway? Would you give the baby 'back' if you could?
This is exactly the situation the Forrest family was faced with as their son, Leo, was born with Down Syndrome. What happened next is shocking.
The Dad was stunned when his wife made a disturbing decision. Read this baby's heartbreaking and yet inspiring story.
When Samuel Forrest heard a baby crying from outside his wife's hospital room, he knew his life would change forever. But, nothing could prepare him for what he would hear next.
"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 followed doctors and nurses into a room where he'd finally get to meet his baby.
"When I walked into the room they all turned to me and said 'Leo has Down syndrome, I had a few moments of shock."
After the news had sunk in, Forrest held Leo for the very first time.
"They took me in see him and I looked at this guy and I said, he's beautiful -- he's perfect."
Soon Forrest walked into his wife's hospital room with Leo in his arms.
Her reaction was unlike one he ever expected.
"She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce."
The baby's mother, Ruzan Badalyan, confirmed that she "did have a child with Down syndrome and she has left her husband, who has the child now."
Forrest, who's from Auckland, New Zealand, said he was completely unaware of the hospital practices in Armenia where his son was born.
"What happens when a baby like this is born here, they will tell you that you don’t have to keep them," he said. "My wife had already decided, so all of this was done behind my back."
Despite his wife's warnings, Forrest said he never had a doubt in his mind that he would hold onto his son.
One week after his birth, Leo's mom filed for divorce.
"It's not what I want," Forrest said. "I didn’t even have a chance to speak with her privately about it."
Forrest, who works as a freelance business contractor, has plans for him and Leo to move to his native country of New Zealand where he said they'll receive support from loved ones.
"This really came out of the blue for me," he said. "I don’t have a lot, I have very little in fact. He's lost a lot in two weeks. It'd be different if he had his mommy."
Forrest has recently been working with disability awareness groups to share his story in the hopes that parents will become better educated on children with special needs.
"After what I've been through with Leo, I'm not going to sit back and watch babies be sent to orphanages," he said. "As a child with Down syndrome, that becomes somewhat of a label. If we can get around this label, we’ll see that they’re normal. They’re a little different from us, but they’re still normal."
"They all have niches and I want to work hard to find out where Leo's special. This little guy is great!"
Pray for this Dad and his son, Leo, as they grow together. Pray that by sharing this man's tragic and courageous story, that others with special needs may one day not be shunned and discarded. And may God heal this mother's heart from making such a painful decision that she might regret for the rest of her life. May Leo come to know and love the Lord our God as his personal savior.
Please share your own prayers for Leo and those born 'different' in our comments section below.
Here is a mother who knows her son with Down Syndrom is PERFECT!