Samuel Forrest was excited to be a new dad and was pacing the halls of the hospital outside his wife’s hospital room when he heard his newborn son cry for the first time. But when the doctor left the room, Samuel saw a look on his face that alerted him something was wrong.
Doctors and hospital staff refused to let Samuel see his son, named Leo.
“When the doctor came out, he said ‘there’s a real problem with your son,’” Samuel told ABC News.
The doctor told Samuel that his son Leo had Down syndrome and, though he admitted he was shocked by the news, Samuel said that he never envisioned not taking his son home from the hospital. But his wife had other plans. When Samuel entered his wife’s room, she told him he would have to either give up his son or she would file for divorce.
Samuel decided to keep his son and, a week later, his wife filed for divorce.
Now, Samuel says he plans to move back to his home country of New Zealand and raise his son, but he is worried about not being able to financially provide for his little boy. Samuel has has set up a GoFundMe page that is already drawing worldwide interest and support — with well over $125,000 given to help Samuel and Leo.
“Thanks everyone – we are stunned beyond words at the incredible support & love you’ve shown for little Leo,” Samuel says on the page. “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,” he added. “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.”
“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,'” he told ABC News. “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 and I’m absolutely keeping him.”
Soon Forrest walked into his wife’s hospital room with Leo in his arms.
Her reaction was unlike one he ever expected.
“I got the ultimatum right then,” he said. “She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce.”