Shortly after holding his son in his arms for the first time, the doctors told Samuel Forrest that his son had down syndrome. When her wife found out she gave him an ultimatum: put up the child for adoption, or she would leave him.
“They took me in to see [Leo] and I looked at this guy and I said, ‘He’s beautiful—he’s perfect and I’m absolutely keeping him.”
Wife asks husband to choose between her or their baby with down syndrome; Photo courtesy: Samuel Forrest
His wife left him and filed for divorce.
Sam had to move back to his homeland of New Zealand to raise Leo there, surrounded by loving family and relatives.
Three months later, his wife, Ruzan, experienced a change of heart and contacted him. “[She] got in touch with me through a friend and we ended up having a candid conversation through Skype. I finally agreed to meet her and she held little Leo for the first time,” San told the reporters.
Ruzan’s decision to leave Leo stemmed from her lack of knowledge about Down Syndrome, compounded by her then-depression and her own selfishness.
“I love him [Leo] very much,” Ruzan said. “One year ago, I couldn’t imagine life with him and now, I can’t really imagine my life without him. He’s changed me so much. I can say I’m a different person now.”
Baby Leo celebrates his first birthday with both his mom and dad; Photo courtesy: Samuel Forrest
Leo is now a year old, and is receiving therapy for both physical and intellectual development. He is crawling now, pushing buttons and is able to say “dad” and attepts to say “mom.”
Having a child with Down syndrome is not a life sentence. With early and proper intervention, plus arming yourself with knowledge, a child with this disorder can live a normal and happy life.
Learn more about Down Syndrome and what it means for both your child and the whole family here.
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