Abandoned two years earlier at a hospital, a 13-year-old boy has officially found his forever family.
“He’s the nicest, smartest kid I’ve ever had,” Mutabazi told Good Morning America on Monday. “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.”
The foster dad has a particularly personal connection to Tony’s story, having run away from an abusive home in Uganda at age 10.
He eventually found a parent figure who helped him through school, but life wasn’t easy.
“They became my sponsor, my family. I grew up the poor of the poorest people on the planet,” Mutabazi said. “I grew up where no one told me to dream, that there was no future for me.”
After making it to North Carolina, he started working with World Vision and has fostered 12 children before finding Tony.
While Tony’s story has a happy ending, it wasn’t always so easy for the boy. He’d been in the foster system since the age of two and was adopted by an Oklahoma couple when he was four.
His adopted parents abandoned him at a hospital when he was 11 years old, Mutabazi and foster care worker Jessica Ward told the news show.
“He asked if his parents were coming to get him and they said no,” Mutabazi said. “No idea why.”
His life began to change when Mutabazi received a phone call on Jan. 16, 2018, asking if he could take Tony for the weekend. When he learned of the boy’s story, he was so taken he had to foster him.
The duo is excited to bring in another foster child at some point.
For now, the two are the stars of Mutabazi’s Instagram account, @fosterdadflipper, which boasts nearly 20,000 followers.