At age 11, Tony's adopted parents left him at a hospital and never returned, but two years later everything changed.
An 11-year-old boy was abandoned at a hospital by his parents. As a result, Tony Mutabazi found his way into the foster care system, unsure of whether he would ever find a forever home. But then came Peter Mutabazi from Charlotte, North Carolina who was about to change the young teen's life in the most incredible way. Tony had been in the foster care system since the age of 2, and at the age of 4, and not much is known about his birth parents. But Peter knew that he was meant to be the young boy's father.
Peter first fostered the teen before adopting him. "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."
On January 16, 2018, Peter got a call asking if he would take care of the then 11-year-old just for a couple of days. As a foster dad of three years at the time, he obviously couldn't refuse. After Peter heard the young boy's story, he was devastated. "By that time, I was crying. I thought, 'Who would do that?'" he said. "Once I knew the parents' rights were signed off and he had nowhere to go, I [knew] I had to take him."
The story is somewhat close to him for Peter himself. He grew up in Uganda but ran away from his abusive home at the age of 10. Later he found a parent figure who guided him through school. "They became my sponsor, my family. I grew up the poor of the poorest people on the planet," Peter said. "I grew up where no one told me to dream, that there was no future for me."
He eventually moved to the United States for a better life and became a citizen. He found purpose working with the nonprofit organization World Vision United States, which helps children living in vulnerable areas. So far he has been a foster parent to over 12 children. When he met Tony he knew he wanted to be his full-time dad. "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," he shared.
Peter officially adopted Tony in a Charlotte courthouse among Peter's family and friends. Foster care worker Jessica Ward said she helped facilitate Tony's adoption.
"[Tony] had some issues that he was dealing with from foster care and trauma when he was abandoned, so Peter know once he took him in, that was it," Ward told GMA. "Peter's [Mutabazi] story all around is beautiful and amazing. Because of the age Peter was when all of the things happened in his world, I feel like that's been such a connection for him and Tony." The father and son share an incredible bond and love spending time together watching movies, playing board games, reading books, and bicycling together.