Leo's parents to give it a go

BABY LEO: Is coming back to New Zealand after his mother's family were unable to accept a baby with Down Syndrome.

BABY LEO: Is coming back to New Zealand after his mother's family were unable to accept a baby with Down Syndrome.

A mother accused of ditching her Down syndrome son has reconciled with her Kiwi husband and wants to move to New Zealand after $660,000 was raised to help the boy.

Armenian Ruzan Badalyan is understood to be applying for residency after a change of heart saw her and Samuel Forrest patch up their relationship this week.

Wanganui-raised Forrest made world headlines last month after his appeal for help as a 'solo father' to repatriate Leo from Armenia raised more than $660,000 from 17,869 donors.

Actor Ashton Kutcher lent the cause his support.

Actor Ashton Kutcher lent the cause his support.


$642k raised to bring Down Syndrome baby home to NZ

Baby Leo's mum speaks up

On a GoFundMe page entitled 'Bring Leo Home', Forrest wrote: "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 and devotion he needs to thrive."

The fund received thousands of donations after celebrity backing from the likes of Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, who posted a link to the fundraising page on social media with the words: "We got your back".

Now the couple want to move to Auckland.

It's understood they plan to donate some of the $660,000 to charities in Armenia and New Zealand.

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Under Armenian law, the divorce required a second signing to be ratified and the couple decided to get back together before putting the final signature to paper.

"They want to raise him in New Zealand but it all depends on whether New Zealand Immigration will find it legitimate," said a source, who asked not to be identified.

A Gofundme spokeswoman said they could not comment on whether the couple had made false representations to donors.

"If donors have any concerns about this campaign, they are welcome to contact us at any time and request a refund."

Badalyan faced a barrage of criticism after she was accused of abandoning the family when Leo was born with Down syndrome - a cultural taboo in Armenia.

It's understood Badalyan has told friends she changed her mind after reading an article written by the mother of American woman with a Down syndrome baby.

"Despite all the negative media and emotional struggle, she wanted to go against the cultural norm and embrace the son," said the source.

"But there is a lot of money involved now."

Leo, who is now five and a half weeks, has had health problems common among Down syndrome children, and is understood to be still not well enough to fly.

When contacted, Forrest did not wish to discuss the reconciliation.

"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."

It is understood Forrest has been in talks to give a tell-all interview with a television current affairs show upon his return to New Zealand.

An Immigration New Zealand spokeswoman said they were unable to confirm whether Forrest's wife had applied for residency.

Under the Family Partnership Category, couples must supply evidence that their relationship is 'genuine and stable'.

It was revealed last week Forrest, a former Exclusive Brethren, had a conviction for assaulting his former father-in-law.

He has four children with ex-wife Kylie Forrest, who went against Exclusive Brethren rules in speaking to the media.

 - Stuff


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