Hello, my dear heroes!

It's hero of the month day (woop woop)! This May, I'm bringing you someone who's not only the absolute kindest person I've ever met, but also someone who, amongst the craziness that is their life, always finds the time to shine their light just a little bit brighter. I'm also bringing up to discussion a topic that I honestly never delved into: adoption.

It's no secret was born in a small town, full of taboos and unspoken topics. Diversity was not, in the slightest, one of the major key words that would define it. Growing up, I knew of one person that was adopted, and the whole thing was very hush hush - I don't know why it was that way and I never asked as I thought it'd be inappropriate to. To this day, my knowledge on the subject extended to that. Occasionally, I'd follow a true story or two, or watch a movie on the topic, but I never really did any research on it. Well, until today.

Meet Bazy, May's hero of the month. The man I was so deeply inspired by to create this hero is named Peter Mutabazi. Some of you might know him from social media, some of you might not. Even if you do, I hope you can feel the light beaming through my words as I tell you his story.

The hero I bring you today comes from the other side of the ocean. Well, actually, he was born in Uganda, but eventually moved to the United States and became a citizen there. He's a survivor. He ran away from an abusive household, from an environment that didn't know love or support, when he was only 10. He then had luck smile at him and found a father figure and a family that helped him through school and taught him what we should all know by now: that he is a gift.

His story brings me to tears every time I read it - and I've read it quite a few times. Even as I type, right now, I feel my eyes starting to tear up. It's very tough for me to imagine a 10-year-old being so scared for his life that his only option was to run away from home. Which he did. And to be alone for 4 years after that, doing whatever was necessary to survive, fighting for a chance to live a good life... Well. There are no words. The one comforting thing is that a couple actually did look at Peter and saw a future. They gave him everything a child deserves - a stable roof over his head, food, water, care and education. And above all that, they helped him deal with his trauma and taught him to value himself the way he had always deserved to. To be thankful for the existence of this couple is the bare minimum.

His experience with his new family is the main inspiration for the way he lives his life now: he wants to do, for as many kids as he can, the same thing his foster parents did for him. And that's what he's been doing. He has fostered 16 children and has legally adopted 1 teenager (insert happy dance here)! Actually, it was the adoption story of his son Anthony that made it into my timeline and instantly caught my eye (a kid who was supposed to stay with Peter for a weekend and ended up never leaving - they just saw so much of themselves in each other they couldn't be kept apart). Ever since then, his family has been growing: between continuing to foster children, he's in the process of adopting another teenage boy and has two beautiful dogs! At the moment, they're a family of 7 (Peter, his 4 kids and 2 dogs)!!! How incredible is that?

The kindness in his heart can be witnessed through everything he does, especially the vlogs he posts on a weekly basis, on his YouTube channel. They're discreet, protective of his children (as only Peter's and Anthony's faces are shown) and so full of joy! As viewers we get to accompany this family throughout both the happy and tougher times, and it's such a heartwarming experience. Peter's work doesn't stop here, though. He wants to do even more, for more kids out there. That's why he and Anthony created Now I Am Known, which stands for everything they believe in and screams their favourite words of affirmation: you are seen, you are heard, you belong, you are a gift, you are not alone, you are special, you are brave, you are known.

As I understand it, the adoption process is not an easy one. It's not easy to start it, it's not easy to wait to get a word and it most definitely is not easy once it actually happens. There are thousands of kids who grow up in the system and never get to have a life-long home. There are thousands more who do and then eventually get back to the system - the horror stories I've read about are heartbreaking. But there are also thousands who do get to live a good life and are loved by their families... Luckily there are Peters and Anthonys all around the world who can vouch for the need of growing up full of love and care.

All of this happens here in Portugal too, even though I feel like no one talks about it... The adoption process is so long and tiring, that I can't help but wonder if we're not doing something wrong. I understand that choosing a home for the children is a HUGE responsibility, but looking at the numbers and doing some research on all that goes around adoption (maternity/paternity leave is basically up to your employers, for example), it just leaves me feeling like there's a whole bunch of things that are in the way of making the whole process go smoother and better for both the kids and the parents involved! I'm not an expert on the subject though, I can only speak of what I've found.

Peter's story starts on a very heartbreaking note. To have the strength and willpower to turn his life around, to allow people to help him, and now pass it all along to so many kids who need that positive impact is just... Well... The work of a real-life hero. And have I mentioned that he's the nicest person I've ever met? He's been so patient and kind to me throughout this tribute, that if no one starts building up a statue in his honour, I might have to do so myself!

I hope you enjoyed reading about Peter, and that Bazy reminds you that you are seen and not alone. And that there's always time to turn things around - or at least try.

I leave you with an invitation to check out Now I Am Known, and get a Plushie while you're at it. For every toy you get, another one is donated to a child in need, and I just found this out but every Plushie has a number on them that matches one on the Plushie that is donated because of your purchase. How adorable and meaningful is that? This man's heart is too good for this world. Check the links below :)

See you soon, heroes!

Useful links:

— Now I Am Known:

— Peter's Instagram:

— Peter's YouTube channel:

— "Single dad adopts 11-year-old boy from foster care after biological, adoptive family abandon him":

— "'I'm A Black Father With White Kids. I've Been Accused Of Kidnapping Them'":

— "Peter and Newly Adopted Son Have Just Taken in A Foster Teen And Now They’re Sharing Affirmations For All Races":

— Mutabazi – An Adoption Story of Love and Family:

— Adoption report, Portugal, Year 2019:

— "'It'll be good, but very hard'. Three ideas to have in mind when considering adoption":

— How to adopt (Portugal):

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