Ruzan Badalyan who disowned her new-born Down’s Syndrome son says the half-million dollars raised for the boy did not influence her decision to return to her husband and child.
Leo Forrest was born in Armenia on January 21 to Kiwi-born dad Samuel Forrest and his wife Ruzan Badalyan.
All three have now returned to New Zealand.
Forrest turned to crowd-funding to bring the baby to New Zealand after Leo was disowned by Badalyan and her family at birth.
After Samuel expressed an interest in keeping the child, his wife told him: “If you take him I’ll get a divorce.”
With an initial goal of $60,000, he eventually raised over $500,000 after the story hit the world’s media.
Forrest told TV3’s 3D programme that he was told: “You’ve got 10 days to decide whether you’re going to keep him or take him to an orphanage.”
Mother Badalyan told the programme most disabled babies in Armenia were sent to orphanages
“I would say don’t judge and you won’t be judged because you’ll never know what you’ll do,” she said.
“At that moment it was the only decision for me.”
Badalyan was pilloried around the world for her decision to give up her baby.
She returned to Forrest and her baby after the funding campaign’s success saying she missed her child.
She told 3D the money “doesn’t matter for me” and it belonged to her son and not her.
Forrest said the money was in trust for Leo and he no longer had individual access to the funds.
He said he hoped people would realise what a big step it was for Badalyan to return to her family.
“I want people to realise she’s a really good person.”
Forrest said the fund-raising was not a scam as there was no way he could have planned to have a Down’s Syndrome baby.
To the allegations that he had abandoned his four other children in New Zealand, Forrest said it had been made “as difficult as possible” to have a normal relationship with them by the Exclusive Brethren community that he had left.
The family of three has now moved to New Zealand and some of the money raised has been pledged to help Downs Syndrome children in Armenia.