Friday 20 October 2017

Father of Down Syndrome baby said he ‘forgives’ wife who left their son

Jennifer McShane

The father of a special needs baby who was told to give “up the baby or get divorced“ by his wife, has said he has “forgiven” her for leaving their son, and that he is hopeful that they might reconcile.

New Zealander Samuel Forrest chose to care for his son following the ultimatum, but today told the Mirror that didn’t hold anything against his wife, Ruzan. "I don't hold anything against Ruzan. I wanted this personal responsibility and I've assumed it for Leo and she's also made her own decisions,” he said.

He also added that he still “adored” his wife, despite what happened: "I adore her and I want to carry through those memories for Leo. I want him to know how good his mum was.

“I'll hold out the possibility in the future that there will be the possibility of a connection. The door will always be open, but for that to happen she will need to fully accept Leo and take on her responsibilities as a mother," he added.

'I'm keeping him' - Man chooses son with Down Syndrome over wife following divorce ultimatum

Baby Leo was born on January 21 in a hospital in Armenia.  It has been reported that his wife requested the child be given up for adoption upon learning of his disability. However, Mr Forrest said he was “keeping him because he is absolutely perfect.”

However, in response, Ms Badalyan has said she supported the decision to move Leo to New Zealand – but claims Mr Forrest "wouldn't listen to try and find a common solution" that worked for them both.

“I realised that only a move to a country with such standards as New Zealand would entitle my son to a decent life. This fact was not disputed by my spouse either, who occasionally claims in his articles that the baby can't afford the life he deserves in Armenia,” she said in a statement.

She added that her husband then began circulating stories containing the false allegation that she had given him an “ultimatum” to abandon their son or face divorce.

“[The allegations] are absolutely not true,” she sad.  “I tried several times to communicate, but he never tried to listen me and to find common solutions. The only response was the accusation from his part.”

“I faced two options: to take care of the child on my own in Armenia, or to abandon my maternal instincts and extend the baby an opportunity to enjoy a decent life with his father in New Zealand.

"I went for the second option,” she said.

However, Mr Forrest has disputed this, saying: "None of that was discussed with me because the decision had already been made. The family or her wouldn't even enter into a dialogue with me. I had to make my decision because of this innocent little guy.”

The new father has set up an online fundraiser to help support him and his son since the marriage has dissolved.

Forrest plans to move back to New Zealand with little Leo, having reached his goal of $60,000.

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