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This Dad Had to Choose Between Divorce and Keeping His Baby With Down Syndrome

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When Leo Forrest was born with Down syndrome on January 21, 2015 in Armenia, his mother gave his dad, Sam Forrest, an ultimatum. If he decided to keep the baby, then she’d file for divorce.

Once Forrest saw his son, the decision was already made.

“They took me in to see him and I looked at this guy and I said, he’s beautiful, he’s perfect,” Forrest told ABC News. “I’m absolutely keeping him.”

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“When the doctors told me Leo had Down syndrome, they also said we had 10 days to decide if we would keep him or send him to the orphanage,” Forrest told Kidspot, a parenting site. “My wife and her family just did not want him, and told me that if I wanted to raise him, our marriage was over.”

“I love my wife, she’s amazing and we were happy but I couldn’t do what she wanted and abandon our son. I couldn’t do that ever,” he said, “but it’s just the way the culture works here.”

Forrest, a freelance business contractor, created a GoFundMe fundraiser page called “Bring Leo Home” to raise money so he can help care for Leo while working a part-time job. He’d also like to return to New Zealand, where he’s from, so his son “can have a quality of life and acceptance,” according to the fundraising page.

If you’d like to make a donation to Forrest’s GoFundMe page, head here.

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Originally published: February 6, 2015
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