In the inky darkness of a frigid January morning in 2017, a jittery 11-year-old child, clad in blue sleepwear, clutching a superhero-themed blanket, and carrying a meager duffle bag appeared at the threshold of Peter Mutabazi’s home. His parental relationship shattered, he was an unexpected guest, abandoned at a hospital by his adoptive parents. The news had been relayed to Peter by a social worker desperately seeking a weekend haven for this piteous youth.
Mutabazi, despite having recently waved off two foster children, was initially resistant. However, recalling his own troubled past running from an abusive household in Uganda to the cold streets of Kampala, he agreed to provide a temporary refuge.
No sooner had the youngster, named Anthony, stepped over the threshold, than he asked a question that transformed both of their lives. He asked if he could call Mutabazi ‘Dad’. From that moment, Anthony, who had endured a tortuous journey through foster homes since toddler-hood, found a permanent place in the heart of Mutabazi and his home. Two years on, in November 2019, their bond was officially cemented by adoption.
Since Anthony, Mutabazi, a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, has added two more children to his unconventional family, becoming a single black father to three white children. Isabella and Luke, his newly adopted duo, bring to life Mutabazi’s belief that familial love transgresses the boundaries of race.
Since becoming a foster parent in 2016, Mutabazi has welcomed approximately three dozen children of varied ethnicities into his home. He offers insights into his life on Instagram, resonating with over 300,000 followers, advocating the message that adoption is about love, not color.
Indeed, color of skin has proven to be an occasional hindrance, particularly in public situations. The assumption is often that he cannot be the father to his white children, a perception that Mutabazi actively strives to change. He is also candid about the financial implications of being a single father, with North Carolina providing between $500 to $700 monthly per child for foster care.
Throughout this misunderstood narrative, Mutabazi overcomes challenges daily, providing his children the stability and love essential in a foster home. Having run away from home himself at an early age, he offers his children the affection he himself was denied. This unique constellation of experiences has endowed Mutabazi with a black-belt in patience and discipline, tools he believes are to be employed strictly for teaching and not shaming.
Despite it all, his household is a heart-warming mix of the cacophony of children’s laughter and the bustling energy of two dogs, Simba and Rafiki. His five-bedroom home teems with scattered toys, colored drawings littering the fridge, and affirming messages to remind his children of their importance and love in the family- “You are seen. You belong. You matter. You’re chosen. You’re not alone. You’re a gift. You’re loved”.
His family’s journey from ‘unwanted to embraced, from unseen to loved, and from chaotic to harmonious’ echoes loudly within the hearts of everyone who encounters them. While they may not represent the societal caricature of a family, under the loving, stalwart guidance of Mutabazi, they present a picture of resilience, felicity, and unconditional love.