Leo was born with Down’s Syndrome (Picture: GoFundMe/Bring Leo Home)

A first-time father has been forced to choose between his wife and his newborn son after she said she was too ashamed that the boy was born with Down’s Syndrome.

Samuel Forrest’s wife Ruzan refused to associate or even touch the baby – named Leo – because a baby with special needs is seen as shameful in her native Armenia, where the couple lived.

Even doctors in the Armenian hospital where she had given birth told his wife she did not have to keep the newborn and could place him in care.

But Mr Forrest, from New Zealand, refused to give up Leo. A week after giving birth, his wife filed for divorce.

Mr Forrest has now set up a crowdfunding webpage to enable him to leave eastern Europe and return home to New Zealand to look after Leo while working part-time.

(Picture: GoFundMe/Bring Leo Home)

(Picture: GoFundMe/Bring Leo Home)

Mr Forrest told ABC news: ‘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.

‘What happens when a baby like this is born here, they will tell you that you don’t have to keep them.

‘My wife had already decided, so all of this was done behind my back.’

The father and son have already raised more than $200,000 through their fundraising page Bring Leo Home.

Speaking of the generosity he and his son received, the single father said: ‘Leo and I found out in the wee hours of the morning that we had crossed our target.

‘He is a lucky guy to have the support of thousands of friends around the world.’

(Picture: GoFundMe/Bring Leo Home)

(Picture: GoFundMe/Bring Leo Home)

Forrest plans to use their money to find a place to live in his home city of Auckland and to pay for his son’s specialist education needs.

Any surplus money he has pledged to donate to the only orphanage in Armenia that regularly takes abandoned babies with Down’s Syndrome, as well as ‘other organisations that can help these children’.

 
 
 
 

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