Couple Adopts Baby Found In NYC Subway — How Their Unconventional Family Came To Be

Photo: YouTube
Danny Stewart, Pete Mercurio, and their son Kevin
Contributor

The night of August 28, 2000, Danny Stewart was on his way to meet his then-boyfriend, Pete Mercurio, for dinner in New York City.

While waiting for the train in Chelsea subway station, Stewart, 34, noticed what appeared to be a small doll wrapped up in a sweatshirt.

On closer inspection, Stewart found that it wasn’t a doll at all — it was an abandoned newborn baby boy.

That same baby later became his son, as he and Mercurio, 32, are now married and have legally adopted him as their own son.

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The infant, first nicknamed baby Ace because he was found near the A, C, and E subway lines and later named Kevin, had been abandoned in the New York City subway station. Just one day old, his umbilical cord was still intact.

Stewart recalls running to a payphone to call the police for help before also checking in with Mercurio to let him know what was happening.

After a social worker came to take the baby to the hospital, Stewart knew he would be connected to that baby for his entire life.

Mercurio, now Stewart's husband, told him, “Maybe there's a way that we can find out where he ends up and send a birthday gift every year on this date.”

Shortly after saving the baby’s life, the pair went to St Vincent’s hospital to check on him. But when they arrived, they were unable to see him because they were not family.

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The couple went on with their lives.

But in December of that same year, Stewart, a social worker was invited to testify about how he found the baby at a family court hearing.

Unexpectedly, the judge asked Stewart if he was interested in adopting the baby. Stewart knew immediately what he wanted to do.

"I think most of the mouths dropped in the courtroom, including mine." Stewart says. "I said, 'Yes, but I don't think it's that easy,' and the judge smiled and she said, 'Well, it can be.'"

Mercurio was hesitant at first, but after holding Kevin for the first time, he knew he wanted to adopt him.

After the hearing, the judge allowed the couple to take Kevin home for two days, just in time for Christmas.

Though Kevin was supposed to go back into foster care until the adoption was finalized, the two couldn’t bear to part with him and became his foster parents.

The adoption was completed on December 17, 2002.

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Kevin’s mother was never found.

Growing up, he wondered who she was. There is no information about who she might be and what circumstances lead to his being found all alone in a subway station.

In 2011, when same-sex marriage was legalized in New York, the couple tied the knot — with the same judge from Kevin’s case officiating.

Last year Mercurio published a children’s book entitled "Our Subway Baby" that explains how their family came to be and also made a movie about this experience called "Found."

Kevin is now a college student studying math and computer science. He plays the piano and guitar, runs marathons, and dances.

What began as a heartbreaking event is now a beautiful story about a couple who found the greatest gift they could ever ask for.

Stewart told BBC, “I felt like this was not even an opportunity, it was a gift, and how can you say no to this gift?"

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Leeann Reed is a writer who covers news, pop culture, and love, and relationship topics.