‘He’s the nicest, smartest kid I’ve ever had’: Single foster father adopts a 13-year-old boy whose adoptive parents of nearly TEN YEARS abandoned him at a hospital and never returnedMarch 4th, 2020 Stories
A 13-year-old old boy who was abandoned by his adoptive parents two years ago has found his forever home after he was legally adopted by his foster father.
When Tony Mutabazi was 11 years old, the couple who had adopted him seven years prior left him at a hospital and never returned. After caring for Tony for the past couple of years, Peter Mutabazi, a foster parent from Charlotte, North Carolina, officially became his dad on November 12.
‘He’s the nicest, smartest kid I’ve ever had,’ Peter told Good Morning America. ‘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.’
Father and son: Peter Mutabazi, a foster parent from Charlotte, North Carolina, has legally adopted 13-year-old Tony Mutabazi after caring for him for two years
Looking sharp: The father and son were both decked out in blazers when Tony’s adoption was made official in a Charlotte courthouse on November 12
Happy day: The father and son were joined by their family and friends at the courthouse, and photographer Cole Trotter captured the heartwarming moment
Tony was two years old when he was first placed in foster care and there are no details about his birth parents. He was four years old when a couple from Oklahoma adopted him, only to terminate their parental rights nearly a decade later.
The boy’s life changed forever when Jessica Ward, a foster care worker with Angels Foster Family Network in Edmond, Oklahoma, called Peter on January 16, 2018, and asked him to take Tony for the weekend.
Peter told DailyMail.com that Tony arrived at his home at 3 a.m., and when he brought him to his room, he saw a toy on the floor and politely asked if he could play with it.
‘It just warmed my heart that he asked, and he called me sir,’ the dad recalled.
He said he was also struck by Tony’s desire to call him ‘dad’ from the get-go, explaining that the other children he has fostered only referred to him a dad when they were with their friends from school.
Heartbreak: When Tony was 11 years old, the Oklahoma couple who had adopted him seven years prior left him at a hospital and never returned
Meant to be: Peter said he knew he was going to adopt Tony as soon as he heard his backstory
After he took Tony in, he learned that his foster care worker was looking for a group home to put him in because his adoptive parents had terminated their rights.
‘Right then, I knew I am going to adopt this kid,’ he said.
The foster father said he was brought to tears when he heard that the people who raised Tony had just left him at a hospital and never returned.
‘I thought, “Who would do that?”‘ he told Good Morning America. ‘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,’ he added. ‘For what someone did for me I wanted to do something for someone else.’
Peter, who grew up in Uganda, faced similar struggles when he was around Tony’s age. He ran away from his abusive home when he was just 10 years old and got through school with the help of a parental figure.
Amazing: Peter, who was born in Uganda, also became a U.S. citizen in November, just a few weeks after he adopted Tony
Giving back: Peter ran away from his abusive home when he was just 10 years old and found a parental figure who helped him get through school before he moved to the U.S.
Giving back: The foster dad works with World Vision United States, a global Christian humanitarian organization that helps children in need
He eventually moved to the U.S. and started working World Vision United States, a global Christian humanitarian organization that helps children in need.
‘I thought I would be married with children at 30,’ he told WSOC-TV in November. ‘At 35, I thought, “Wait, I can spend my life looking and I can also maybe be doing something.”
‘The lady looked at me and said, “Hey, have you ever thought about being a foster dad?” I thought, “Wait, wait a minute. Well, I’m a single guy not sure I qualify.”‘
Peter did qualify, and over the course of two years, he has fostered 12 children, including Tony.
The father and son were joined by his family and friends when Tony’s adoption was made official in a Charlotte courthouse this past fall.
Love: Peter and Tony have matching shirts that say ‘Families Don’t Have to Match’
Proud: Peter’s Instagram page is filled with photos that show him playing video games and reading with his son. The proud dad said Tony has read 450 books since he has been with him
Officially a teenager: Peter celebrated Tony’s milestone 13th birthday with cake in May
The heartwarming moment was captured by photographer Cole Trotter, and pictures from the day show the father and son decked out in blazers with Tony looking extra sharp in a maroon bow tie.
Peter said his relationship with Tony hasn’t changed since his adoption aside from the fact that they now share the same last name. He explained that it’s ‘really neat’ to go to his son’s school and see his surname on Tony’s work.
‘There is a kid I love and we share the same name,’ he said. ‘It’s been probably the only difference.’
Peter also became a U.S. citizen in November, just a few weeks after he adopted Tony. He proudly shared photos of himself and his new son waving an American flag at the courthouse.
‘Today I became an American Citizen: I’m proud, thankful, grateful and hopeful! A dad and U.S citizen in just two weeks can’t describe in words the joy in my heart and house after a long long journey,’ he wrote on Instagram.
Meant to be: Peter said Tony has always called him ‘dad,’ which warmed his heart
Peter’s page is filled with photos that show him playing video games and goofing around with his son. In one sweet snapshot, they’re wearing matching T-shirts that say ‘Families Don’t Have to Match.’
He told DailyMail.com that Tony likes to watch movies, saying he doesn’t think his previous family allowed him to watch TV or even play sports.
Peter is a runner, and when he is doing a workout, Tony likes to bike. The teen is also an avid reader.
‘Since I’ve had him, he’s read 450 books,’ the proud dad said. ‘Sometimes, before he goes to bed, I have to remove the books because he’ll wake up and read the books.’
‘I could go to any bookstore and read or work and he’ll have a book and read for hours with no movement,’ he added. ‘That truly has been special.’
Peter told Good Morning America that he will continue to be a foster parent, and he and his son will be welcoming a new foster child in the near future.