One Year Later: Father Who Chose Between Wife And Down’s Son Reveals A Shocking Update

Last year, the story about Samuel Forrest and his son, Leo, shocked the world. His wife, Ruzan, had given him an ultimatum when their son was born with Down syndrome: either place the child in an orphanage or get a divorce. 

Without question, Samuel made his choice."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 told ABC News. Living in Albania at the time of Leo’s birth, the father took to the Internet to raise enough donation money to return to his native New Zealand, where family would help.

A year later, Samuel sat down with ABC to give an update on the family and how Leo is growing. ”He’s got a lot of challenges, but to bring out the best of him, you have to work with him differently than you would do another child,” he said, but that was not all. In a plot twist no one was betting on, Ruzan contacted him after his return to New Zealand. "About three-and-a-half weeks later, Ruzan 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.” 

Continuing, Samuel explained that cultural differences had played a huge part in Ruzan's reaction to Leo’s condition. "Before this, she had no idea what Down syndrome really was, or that there was hope," he added. "The doctors had told her Leo would never learn to walk, or talk or feed himself.”
One Year Later: Father Who Chose Between Wife And Down’s Son Reveals A Shocking Update

Turns Out, Baby Leo Charmed Her Too.

Speaking for herself, the mother detailed her journey back to her husband and son. “I am very grateful my family gave me a chance because I don't know what I would do without them.”

"At first I was very, very scared because I didn't know what Down syndrome was like,” she told ABC. “Doctors said he would be like a vegetable. It was very scary. I think I was also very selfish and then there was depression...[it was] all of that together.”

Now that the family has reunited, Ruzan has no question that she ultimately made the right decision. "I love him [Leo] very much," she 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.”

Leo turned one recently and is able to crawl and say “dad” and “mom.”

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