When he discovered his newborn son had Down syndrome, a New Zealand man living in Armenia was horrified not by the condition, but by the assumption that he wouldn't want to keep little Leo. When the boy was born, "the doctor came out, he said, 'There's a real problem with your son,'" Samuel Forrest tells ABC. "They took me in to see him and I looked at this guy and I said, 'He's beautiful—he's perfect and I'm absolutely keeping him,'" he says. But his Armenian wife told him she would leave him if he didn't agree to put the boy up for adoption, and when he declined, she filed for divorce a week after the boy was born on Jan. 21.
"When a baby like this is born here, they will tell you that you don't have to keep them," Forrest says. "My wife had already decided, so all of this was done behind my back." The wife confirmed to ABC that she had a baby with Down syndrome and has left her husband, but she declined to discuss details. Forrest, a freelance business contractor, started a GoFundMe page for help taking Leo to live in New Zealand and has had an overwhelming response, TVNZ reports. With a $60,000 target, he has now raised more than $200,000 and plans to use the extra funds to support programs that help abandoned children in Armenia and families with disabled children. (A woman who asked for a few birthday cards for her son with Down syndrome received truckloads of responses.)