CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — A Charlotte foster dad is being hailed a hero after adopting a 13-year-old boy who was abandoned as a child at the hospital by his adoptive parents, but he says all he ever wanted to do was make a difference in other kids’ lives.
“I grew up in Uganda. I grew up the poorest of the poorest. I didn’t have a good childhood,” Peter Mutabazi explained. “I ran away from home and became a street kid.”
Mutabazi said it wasn’t until someone took him in, someone he didn’t even know, and got him into school, that he realized his calling.
“How can I not give back?” Mutabazi explained.
Mutabazi told FOX 46 that he made the decision to foster while working and living in Oklahoma in 2017. He said he walked into a local agency and expressed his willingness to help other kids. He thought being a ‘single man’ would make him ineligible. He was wrong.
Mutabazi signed up that very day and took the required classes. About four months later, he got his license.
“I understand where [these kids] come from. Someone stepped in to help me, and now I’ve adopted my oldest,” he said.
For Peter Mutabazi and his son, Tony, their relationship seemed destined.
“I have fostered 12 children over the past, almost nearly four years, two children at a time, the most was three. The hardest part was always saying goodbye,” Mutabazi said.
Tony had been adopted by a couple in Oklahoma when he was just 4-years-old after being in the system since 2-years-old. When he was 11, his adopted parents left him at a hospital, according to Mutabazi.
“I could not fathom…who could do that,” Mutabazi said.
In January 2018, Mutabazi received a call from a foster care worker asking if he could take Tony for the weekend. It was during that weekend, that he learned Tony’s story — and decided he wanted to be his dad permanently.
“I remember telling him, ‘You can call me Mr. Peter,’” Mutabazi said. “And Tony was like, “Can I call you dad?”
It happened that fast. The two have been a family ever since.
The pair moved from Oklahoma to Charlotte in 2019 and on Nov. 12, they legally became father and son.
“ADOPTED TODAY!!! I was chosen, I was wanted, I was cherished, I grew in his heart, I was the missing piece and I’m loved today despite of my shortcoming,” Mutabazi wrote on Instagram. “‘Little souls find their way to you, whether they’re from your womb or someone else’s.’ I found my little/big soul today!”
Just two weeks later, Mutabazi also celebrated becoming a U.S. citizen.
“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,” Mutabazi said.
Mutabazi gushed to FOX 46 about his son.
“He’s 13-years-old, so he thinks he’s 40. He’s a fun kid. He loves to play video games and bike and go places,” Mutabazi said. “I travel for work, sometimes I bring him along. He enjoys people. He’s also a reader. He has read more than 500 books. He’s very into Greek mythology.”
Mutabazi tells FOX 46 that he is licensed to foster in Charlotte and he hopes to one day adopt another child.