Peter Mutabazi has had a difficult life. He grew up in a small village on the border of Uganda and Rwanda. Peter’s family couldn’t afford food so they grew their own beans, peas, and sweet potatoes. He began helping his mom in the garden at just 4 years old. The family didn’t even have clean water, so the kids had to walk 2-3 hours to fetch some for the family. Poverty was all they knew.

But that wasn’t all. Peter’s dad abused the whole family. Both verbally and physically. The man would beat his wife, deny his children food, and as time went by, the abuse got only worse.

One night, when Peter was 10, his father sent him to get cigarettes. On his way back, it was pouring rain and the cigarettes got destroyed. Peter knew that if he returned home, he would have gotten a severe beating. Terrified to come back, he ran away instead.

Peter had to go through a lot of trials and tribulations to create a better future for himself. But he persevered. He finally settled down in Oklahoma to start a real estate business. And since his house had two empty bedrooms, his mind couldn’t be at peace knowing there were kids that needed a place. So he went to a foster agency and devoted his life to serving children.

More info: Instagram | Facebook

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

“In the USA, you have to take parenting classes and be licensed by the state you live in if you want to be a foster parent,” Peter explained the process to Bored Panda. “All foster children belong to the state. Since I was licensed under a private agency, they would approach when they needed a home for kids. I have had 12 kids in the last 3 years, ranging from 2-11 yrs. Since I’m single, I could only handle 2 at a time.”

However, Peter eventually met a boy whose story was too painful even for the man who had seen it all.

One night Peter received a call from his social worker asking, “Can you take in an 11-year-old boy just for the weekend?” It was just a few days after he had said goodbye to two brothers he was fostering, so he told her that his heart was deeply saddened by the loss of the two boys that had just been reunited with their birth parents. Peter thought he didn’t have enough energy left to care for another child at the moment. But the back-and-forth with the social worker continued, and she convinced him to take in the child.

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

In the beginning, Peter didn’t want to know why Anthony was in foster care. The man couldn’t handle any more tugging at the heartstrings. He made up his mind that if the placement exceeded the weekend, he would simply refuse to allow him to stay any longer out of fear they would get really close and, once again, only to return to the loss and grief.

The social worker arrived at his home with the boy at 3:00 a.m. after driving two hours from another county within the state. There is a huge shortage of foster families in Oklahoma so when a child enters the foster care system, social workers are often forced to place the children outside of the county of origin, often removing the child from the only place he or she has ever known. Add in the fact that older children are much more difficult to place and the social worker was left with no other option.

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

Peter told Anthony he could call him ‘Mr. Peter’ but just 20 minutes after his arrival, he asked if he could call the man ‘Dad.’

Fast forward to Monday morning. The social worker arrived and Peter decided to ask why Anthony was in foster care. Turns out, the boy had been abandoned by his biological mother when he was 2. He was then placed with a family that served as elders in their church. Eventually, they adopted him but almost ten years later, the same family that raised him, abandoned him at the hospital and never came back. Peter was shocked, asking the universe, “Who would do that?”

But then he learned that the family also relinquished their parental rights, meaning Anthony had nowhere to go. Peter knew he had to take him in.

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

The two have been together ever since. And on the 12th of November, Anthony finally got to share Peter’s last name. His adoption was made official in a Charlotte courthouse and photographer Cole Trotter captured the precious moment.

“I have not had any difficulty with the adoption,” Peter said. “[It] took longer but I knew he would be my son … Nobody wanted him and it’s really hard to find homes or families that would take an 11-year-old boy.”

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

“I am truly blessed to have him, I feel like I have needed him or that he changed my life more than I have changed his,” Peter said.

However, he didn’t stop fostering kids.”It’s hard to be a single foster dad but it’s worth every minute of it. We are about to have another child and we are thrilled.”

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

Image credits: fosterdadflipper

Here’s what people said about Peter and Anthony’s story