Mom Who 'Gave Up' Down Syndrome Baby Speaks Out

down syndrome leo

Maybe you've heard about the mom in Armenia, Ruzan Badalyan, who gave up her baby for adoption after discovering he had Down syndrome. Only the dad, Samuel Forrest, decided to keep the baby and bring him to his home country of New Zealand. Countless people have praised dad and vilified mom ... only now we've got the mom's side of the story, too.


In a Facebook post, Badalyan called this decision the hardest moment of her life -- but still the best course. Why? Because in Armenia, kids with Down syndrome get little support and few opportunities in life:

Due to these difficulties, the mom realized that her baby would be better off in New Zealand, which had a far better social infrastructure in place for kids with disabilities. And clearly the dad agreed.

You've gotta feel for this poor mom -- not just because she got slammed in the media as "callous," but because she really did have to make a difficult choice that highlights how raising a special needs kid is vastly different country to country, or even place to place.

More from The Stir: Mom of Twins Gives Up One Because He Has Down Syndrome

Case in point: even in the US, support services for developmentally disabled kids vary widely from state to state, according to the United Cerebral Palsy's "Case for Inclusion" report. The best of the bunch include Arizona, Michigan, Hawaii, Georgia, New York, South Carolina, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Missouri. Other states, meanwhile, have remained consistently at the bottom of these rankings since 2007, including Arkansas, Illinois, Texas, and Mississippi.

And worldwide, a recent Gallup poll suggests that special needs kids fare better in certain countries more than others. For instance, 91 percent of people in the Netherlands agree their country is a good place for people with intellectual disabilities -- the highest-ranking score among the nations studied. The lowest? Honduras, where only 62 percent can claim the same.

Bottom line: it's not enough to raise a special needs child with love. Parents also need an environment outside of their home that can give a child the best chance at life possible.

I certainly hope Leo thrives in New Zealand and that his mom can come to feel at peace with this difficult decision.

How do you feel about this mom's decision?


Image via Bring Leo Home/GoFundMe

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