“What neither of us knew, or could have predicted, was that Danny had not just saved an abandoned infant; he had found our son.”
A touching story of how a loving family with two dads and one child was created still gets to us today. Here’s how it all went down. Gay man finds an abandoned baby on the subway. Gay man and his partner adopt an abandoned baby and live happily ever after! This sounds like the script of a Hallmark made for tv movie! (One that I would definitely watch btw!) Amazingly, this is actually the true story of one Manhattan couple and a baby found in the subway over 20 years ago!
On August 28th, 2000, Danny Stewart was rushing to meet his boyfriend of three years, Peter Mercurio for dinner. Racing down the stairs of the subway station at 14th street and 8th avenue, (the heart of the gay Chelsea district at the time), he noticed what he thought was a baby doll. He looked at it more closely, “and that’s when I noticed his legs moved” Stewart said.
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,” he says. In yet another scene out of a movie, Stewart frantically tried to get other people’s attention yelling out “Please call the police.” Unable to get help in the station, Stewart ran upstairs to the nearest payphone (remember, this is the year 2000 before everyone carried cell phones). He called the police, and then Pete, telling him to call the police as well, wanting to make sure the police knew that his call was not a prank.
After what seemed like an eternity to Stewart, help did arrive. The next day, Stewart was interviewed by news programs and referred to as “the Good Samaritan who found abandoned Baby ACE” (nicknamed that because he was found in the A, C, E subway station). Life returned back to normal for Stewart and Mercurio, or so they thought!
In yet another scene right out of the movies, three months later, Stewart was in Family Court to testify how he had found Baby ACE. The judge explaining the procedures to Stewart asks him, “Would you be interested in adopting this baby?” I said, “Yes, but I don’t think it’s that easy,” and the judge smiled and she said, “Well, it can be.”
Pete, hearing the news, was not as ready as Danny, and weeks of conversations – and arguments – ensued. Both men tell how the situation almost ended their relationship. Visiting Baby ACE at his foster home, both men then felt that their’s was the right home for ACE.
Their adoption journey then moved rather quickly. Expecting to wait a few months for the background checks, and home visits to happen Danny and Pete were in Family Court on December 20th when the judge asked them if they would like to take the baby home for the holidays. In FIVE DAYS!
In two days and with the help of an army of friends and Pete’s family, their apartment was transformed into a nursery for their new son, Kevin, named after Pete’s older brother who died during childbirth. A year later on December 17, 2002, the adoption was finalized! (The Manhattan Family Court was near Ground Zero and after the 9/11 attacks the adoption process was delayed.)
Kevin is now a 6ft tall 20-year-old college student studying mathematics and computer science.
In yet another made for Hollywood twist, Danny and Pete were legally married in 2011, and yes, the same judge who asked Danny if he wanted to adopt Kevin was the presiding judge at their wedding!
Pete, also thinking that their story makes for a great movie, has written a screenplay about their adoption journey…so who knows you might be seeing it on a movie screen near you in the future. Check out the teaser below as well as the hyperlinked image of the book which can be found at petermercurio.com.