Leo Forrest was born on 21st January 2015 with Down Syndrome, in Armenia.
His Armenian mother and her family abandoned him at birth. His father, a New Zealander, was no longer welcome in the family home because he wanted to ‘keep’ Leo. The mother refused to even look at or touch the newborn for fear of getting attached in a society where defects are not accepted, often bringing shame on the family involved.
With little work, no money, resources or family, and now no home, his father Sam wants to return to New Zealand with Leo, where Leo can have a quality of life and acceptance, integration into society that sadly, is not yet possible in Armenia.
As a now solo father, Sam’s aim is to raise enough money to be able to care for Leo fulltime himself for at least a year, to give him the love, cuddles & devotion he needs to thrive.
Your support will help to ensure this gorgeous little guy has a chance at a normal life.
In advance, thank you,
Leo’s Support Team
Note about Armenia:
In this tiny, landlocked country renowned for its’ hospitality, scores of babies are abandoned each year, for reasons ranging from physical or intellectual disabilities and minor ‘imperfections’. This practice of abandoning children due to disabilities is unfortunately widespread throughout Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, resulting from a culture which refused to accept human defects. Health professionals estimate that 98% of all Down Syndrome babies born in Armenia are abandoned, every year. These abandoned babies are often placed in squalid orphanages, where they live and die, rejected and forgotten by society.
Your support of Leo will also help draw healthy attention to this enormous problem – Armenia’s hidden shame – and help the push for change, education and acceptance – for Armenia’s forgotten babies.