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Single dad who fostered 12 children takes in boy who had nowhere to go during coronavirus pandemic

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 9/05/2020 April Roach
a person standing posing for the camera © Provided by Evening Standard

A single dad who has fostered 12 children has taken in another child who had nowhere else to go during the coronavirus pandemic.

Peter Mutabazi, 37, from North Carolina, is determined to help youngsters who need fostering after he was taken in at a young age.

He has currently fostered 12 children and adopted a 13-year-old boy, Anthony, who was abandoned by his own family at the age of two.

Pictures: Our world re-engineered for social distancing

And, when he received a call from social services that another boy was struggling to find a home during the lockdown, Peter said he knew he had to step up.

He told the Standard: "When I got the phone call from the social worker I found it quite scary, firstly because we're in the quarantine, and also because I worried what might happen if he got sick.

"But then I thought about nurses who have to work with sick patients and I thought why shouldn't I help a kid that has nowhere to go?

"I decided that I would help him no matter what."

a young boy sitting on a table: Peter at home with the new arrival (Stephanie Welch & Stefanie Haviv) © Provided by Evening Standard Peter at home with the new arrival (Stephanie Welch & Stefanie Haviv)

Peter and Anthony have spent the last five weeks with the seven-year-old boy, whose details they can't share.

"When I usually take in a kid, I have friends that can help by dropping off a meal and not having that support during the lockdown is really difficult," said Peter.

"When the boy arrived on Sunday, he had to start school straight away on the Monday.

"But it's a little bit easier having [Anthony] here. It's wonderful for my oldest to have someone to play with. It really warms my heart to see him care for the boy.

"It's a been a joy to watch him grow."

Peter was born in a village near the border of Uganda and Rwanda. He fled an abusive father at the age of 10 and eventually migrated to America.

Over the past couple of years he has fostered 12 children, ranging from two to 11-years-old.

a person sitting at a table using a laptop computer: Peter is working from home while homeschooling his son Anthony and the new arrival (Stephanie Welch & Stefanie Haviv) © Provided by Evening Standard Peter is working from home while homeschooling his son Anthony and the new arrival (Stephanie Welch & Stefanie Haviv) Peter added: "There are so many kids out there - it's overwhelming. But someone did it for me when I was just a kid who didn't have any hope.

"He saw the best in me and that changed my life forever. How can I pay that back?

"I understand where these kids are coming from and the trauma that they are experiencing."

The US is the worst-affected country by the global pandemic, with more than 1.2 million infected and more than 70,000 people have died of Covid-19, according to John Hopkins data.

Lockdown restrictions were rolled out on March 30 in North Carolina and are due to last until May 8, when they will be reviewed by Governor Roy Cooper.

Peter said once the lockdown is lifted and it's safe to do so, he's most looking forward to taking his two boys out for a meal.


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