The mother of a baby born with Down syndrome, who became known across the world when she allegedly abandoned her husband and child because she was ashamed of the baby’s condition, has reportedly had a change of heart and taken her family back.
On Jan. 21, Ruzan Badalyan filed for divorce from her husband, Samuel Forrest, just one week after giving birth to their son, Leo. Badalyan, a resident of Armenia, gave her husband an ultimatum after the birth, forcing him to choose between her and Leo. Badalyan claimed that having a baby with Down syndrome is considered shameful in her native Armenia, where she and Forrest lived at the time of Leo’s birth.
When Forrest’s story began to spread, a campaign was started to raise funds that would allow the father and son to return to his native New Zealand. Supporters, including actor Ashton Kutcher, raised more than $600,000.
According to reports, Badalyan has now decided she wants to give the relationship another try — applying for permanent residency in New Zealand and planning to move to Auckland with her family. A source close to the couple said they are planning to donate portions of the funds raised to charities in New Zealand and the U.S.
“They want to raise him in New Zealand but it all depends on whether New Zealand Immigration will find it legitimate,” the source said of the couple’s planned reconciliation. The source revealed that Badalyan was compelled to change her mind after reading an article written by a mother whose child has Down syndrome.
“Despite all the negative media and emotional struggle, she wanted to go against the cultural norm and embrace the son,” the source said. “But there is a lot of money involved now.”
Forrest, who was recently discovered to have an assault conviction from an altercation with an ex-wife’s father, declined to comment on the rumored reconciliation when contacted by Stuff.co.nz.
“The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult, and I am focusing my efforts on giving my son Leo the best chance possible at life,” he said. “I am requesting privacy, and have no further comment at this time.”