Danny Stewart and Pete Mercurio became first-time dads after Danny discovered the baby in a subway station.
A gay couple became first-time dads after one of the men stumbled upon an abandoned baby in a New York subway station 20 years ago.
Danny Stewart was traveling to meet his partner Pete Mercurio on 28 August 2000 when he spotted what he thought was a “baby doll” nestled in a corner of a New York subway station.
Believing it was a doll, Stewart walked up a flight of stairs towards the exit, only looking back at the top. It was then that he noticed the baby’s legs move.
Stewart and Mercurio opened up about the incredible series of events that led to them adopting the baby and raising him as their own in an interview with BBC News.
“He didn’t have any clothes on, he was just wrapped up in this sweatshirt. His umbilical cord was still partially intact, so I could tell he was a newborn. I was thinking maybe a day or so old,” Stewart said.
Danny and Pete became gay dads when a judge asked if they wanted to adopt
Stewart ended up calling the police from a nearby payphone and the baby was taken away shortly afterward. It wasn’t until he was asked to testify in court about finding the baby that the idea of adopting the child was first floated.
In court, the judge asked him: “Would you be interested in adopting this baby?” He had never considered adoption before, but he quickly agreed, feeling that he was “connected” to the baby.
“I felt like this was not even an opportunity, it was a gift, and how can you say no to this gift?”
Stewart had “tense” conversations with Mercurio over the following weeks, as his partner was not convinced that they should adopt the child – but he soon came around. They brought the child home for Christmas that year, welcoming him into their family, and named him Kevin.
Mercurio later made his son a picture book detailing how he was found in a subway station to help him understand where he came from. It became his “favorite” book, Mercurio said.
“We’d often catch Kevin flipping through the pages by himself and mouthing the words he had memorized. This was the sweetest thing in the world to witness,” he added.
In 2011, Stewart and Mercurio tied the knot in New York, with the judge who asked them if they would consider adopting Kevin all those years before officiating.
Today, Kevin is 20-years-old and is studying mathematics and computer science at university.
Speaking about the incredible turn of events that led to them becoming parents, Stewart said: “I can’t imagine my life if it didn’t turn out this way. My life has become much more enriched and full. It has changed my world view, my perspective, my whole lens.”
Mercurio has now written a children’s book, called Our Subway Baby, detailing their experience of finding Kevin in a subway station and being gay dads.
“I did not know that this level of deep love existed in the world until my son came into my life,” Mercurio said.