Mom Denies Abandoning Down Syndrome Baby

She says she made 'ruthless decision' for his best interests
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2015 4:55 AM CST
Mom Denies Abandoning Down Syndrome Baby
This picture of Leo is from his father's GoFundMe page.   (GoFundMe)

An Armenian woman whose husband made headlines with his refusal to give up their newborn with Down syndrome disputes his version of events—though she admits she had to make "the most ruthless decision in my life" hours after baby Leo was born. In a Facebook post, Ruzan Badalyan says that after the boy was born on Jan. 21, she decided she did not "want my child to live in a country where certain stereotypes dominate the lives of people with DS and no opportunities at all." She writes that she believed a move to New Zealand, her husband's homeland, "would entitle my son to a decent life," ABC reports. But she denies giving husband Samuel Forrest an ultimatum and accuses him of failing to support her while she made the tough decision, saying he decided to take the baby to New Zealand himself.

The couple filed for divorce a week after Leo was born, and Badalyan says Forrest never suggested that all three of them move to New Zealand together. He denies that on his GoFundMe page, saying he tried to keep the family together but his in-laws attempted to convince him to surrender the boy to an orphanage. But while there are clearly some issues between the couple, Forrest has stressed that his wife shouldn't be singled out for abuse, reports "Our paths may be moving in different directions, but she is Leo's mother and I still feel a great deal of love for her," he wrote on the fundraising page. With a target of $60,000, he has now raised nearly $500,000, which he says is "far beyond anything we expect or need" to get the boy back to New Zealand and care for him for a year. He plans to use the extra funds to help Armenian children with special needs. (A teen mom who gave her baby up for adoption still pumped breast milk for her.)

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