Woman Defends Herself After Husband Says She Gave up Newborn With Down Syndrome

She describes the "stress and depression" she felt after giving birth.

ByABC News
February 7, 2015, 1:36 PM
Samuel Forrest refused to give up his son Leo.
Samuel Forrest refused to give up his son Leo.
Courtesy Samuel Forrest

— -- A woman accused by her husband of divorcing him and giving up their newborn son after learning he was born with Down syndrome called the decision the "hardest moment" of her life.

Ruzan Badalyan gave birth to Leo while in Armenia. Her husband, Samuel Forrest, told ABC News this week that she divorced him shortly after the boy's birth.

"I remember the sad faces of my relatives and the doctors and the diagnosis that sounded like a verdict: 'Your child was born with a Down syndrome.' One can never imagine my feelings at that moment," Badalyan wrote in a Facebook post. "Hardly had I recovered from the first shock, when the doctor approached me and told me to voice my decision whether I was going to keep Leo or not. I had to make the most ruthless decision in my life within several hours."

Badalyan wrote that she spent several hours after her son's birth trying to decide on his "best destiny." She said that Forrest accepted that their son's interest should be first and that "only his move to another country could remedy the situation."

PHOTO: Leo Forrest was born with Down Syndrome.
Leo Forrest was born with Down Syndrome.

Calls to Badalyan and Forrest have not yet been returned.

While Forrest said that his wife gave him an ultimatum after learning their son had Down syndrome, Badalyan said her husband did not support her while she weighed the decision.

"In the hardest moment of my life when my husband should be next to me and support and help to take the right decision, I could not find any support from his side," she wrote. "After that incident, he left the hospital notifying me hours later that he was taking the kid with him, that he is going to leave the country for New Zealand and I do not have anything to do with the situation. Without giving me any option and trying to find with me any solution in this hardest situation, he started to circulate the story on every possible platform without even trying to give me a voice accusing that I put him an ultimatum marriage or the baby, which is absolutely not true. I tried several times to communicate but he never tried to listen me and to find common solutions. The only response was the accusation from his part.

PHOTO: Samuel Forrest was approached by Armenian doctors with the option to give up his son.
Samuel Forrest was approached by Armenian doctors with the option to give up his son.

Forrest, who plans to take Leo to his native New Zealand, said Badalyan filed for divorce one week after Leo's birth.

"Sam has never suggested joining him and bringing up the child together in his country," wrote Badalyan. "Neither did he tell me anything on the day we filed for divorce. The only thing he kept saying was that he didn't want us to separate, whereas my question what we should do always remained unanswered."

"As a mother who has faced this severe situation, being in the hospital under stress and depression, experiencing enormous pressure from every side, not finding any support from my husband’s part on any possibilities of giving a child decent life in Armenia, I faced two options: to take care of the child on my own in Armenia, or to abandon my maternal instincts and extend the baby an opportunity to enjoy a decent life with his father in New Zealand. I went for the second option," she continued.

ABC News' Nicole Pelletiere contributed to this report.