Tony Mutabazi is 13 years old, and up until two years ago, he thought he had found his forever home. A couple had adopted him seven years ago. But when Tony was 11, they abandoned him. They dropped him off at a hospital and never came back for him. They never… came back.
Peter Mutabazi, of Charlotte, North Carolina, quickly took the boy in as a foster parent. Then, after two years, he adopted Tony.
Says Peter: He’s the nicest, smartest kid I’ve ever had. From day one, he’s always called me “dad.” He truly meant it and he looks up to me. He’s proud to show me at school and say, “Hey, he’s my dad.” That’s something that I love about him.”
Soon after Peter took him in, he learned that the foster care workers were looking to place Tony in a group home. Peter knew at that moment that he had to adopt the young boy. The story about Tony’s parents leaving him and never coming back for him brought Peter to tears.
Says Peter: ‘I thought, “Who would do that?” Once I knew the parents’ rights were signed off and he had nowhere to go, I [knew] I had to take him.’ I had the room, the resources, so I had no reason to let him go. For what someone did for me I wanted to do something for someone else.”
Peter was born in Uganda, and he had to deal with some very rough situations as well as a youngster. When he was 10, he ran away from an abusive home and was raised by someone else as a parental figure. He got through school and eventually moved to the United States and began working for World Vision United States, a global Christian humanitarian organization that helps children in need.
Says Peter: ‘I thought I would be married with children at 30. At 35, I thought, “Wait, I can spend my life looking and I can also maybe be doing something.”
Tony’s adoption was made official in a Charlotte courthouse, and Peter became a U.S. citizen shortly after. Together, the two could not be happier.
Says Peter: ‘Of all the joys that parenting has brought to my life, a hug from my son is at the top of the list.’