Choosing Love: One Father Sees God’s Hand Where Others Cannot
Written by Project Inspired | February 14, 2015
On January 21, 2015, Leo Forrest was born on Armenian soil to an Armenian mother and a New Zealander father.
Upon delivery, Leo was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Some would call this a tragedy; we choose to call Leo’s arrival a blessing. The real tragedy here is what happened next.
Prior to allowing the father, Samuel, to see or hold his son, hospital staff delivered a foreboding message, informing Samuel that there was something “very wrong with his son.” His son’s face had been covered by a blanket as he was transported from one room to the next.
When Samuel was finally granted permission to see and hold his newborn baby, he discovered that his son was two things: beautiful and perfect. Translation? There was nothing “wrong” with Leo, only something very wrong with the way he had been perceived by doctors, nurses and above all—his own mother.
That’s right—his mother. As it happens, when a child is born with Down syndrome in Armenia, standard practice is for the parents to receive two options: to keep or to abandon their child. Leo’s mother hadn’t hesitated to settle on a decision—she would abandon Leo, and if Samuel chose otherwise, then she would end their marriage.
Needless to say, Samuel did choose otherwise, and Leo’s mother honored her ultimatum.
There’s so much to be said here. But what we want to say is that we extend a very warm welcome to Leo as he finds his place in this world. We’d also like to say that we admire Samuel for his courage, his unwavering love and the clarity of his vision, which allowed him to see God’s work in his son.
We’d also like to invite you to pray for Samuel and his son. Samuel, who is a freelance contractor in search of a more stable, part-time job, doesn’t have a lot, but his determination to provide Leo with a higher quality of life and education to help him succeed is indeed inspiring.
Step one? Samuel plans to return to Auckland, New Zealand, where his will raise Leo with the support of his family.
But it’s a long way home.
To read more about the lifelong journey that Leo and Samuel have begun together, head on over to the original article here.
If you want to check out Samuel’s campaign to provide Leo with proper, full-time care and a loving environment, you can find it here. This little guy has a lot to be grateful for, and our greatest hope is that the trend will continue.