A Gay Man Found a Baby in Subway 20 Years Ago. Now He Shares His Story in New Book

Tuesday April 6, 2021
Originally published on April 5, 2021

Author Pete Mercurio and Kevin
Author Pete Mercurio and Kevin  (Source:Instagram)

In August, 2000 a gay New Yorker found an abandoned baby in a New York subway station, at which time the then-34-year-old Danny Stewart called 911. He "was on his way to meet his partner, Pete Mercurio, then 32, for dinner when he noticed an odd bundle tucked up against a wall in the 14th Street subway station in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood," reported the Daily Mail.

"I found a baby," he told the police,reports the BBC.

Little did he know at the time that finding the baby, with its his umbilical cord still attached, would be his first step in becoming a parent. At the time the couple decided they would keep track on what happened to the child. But when Danny attended a family court hearing about the baby, then in foster care, the judge asked him a surprising question: "Would you be interested in adopting this baby?"

While he had not thought of parenting at the time, Danny recalled how her question hit a nerve. "I could not stop thinking that... I did feel connected, I felt like this was not even an opportunity, it was a gift, and how can you say no to this gift," he said.

Now, 20 years later the baby Danny and Pete named Kevin is a 21-year-old college student who towers over his parents. Recently the Daily Mail adds, "Pete, a playwright and web designer, published an illustrated children's book, 'Our Subway Baby,' which tells the story of their family and how it came to be."

At first the couple disagreed about bringing a child into their relationship. "In fact, they almost broke up over it, with Danny insisting he was adopting the baby whether Pete wanted to be a part of it or not," writes the DM. But once Pete was with the baby, he changed his mind."

"The baby squeezed my finger with his entire hand so hard," Pete said. "He was just staring up at me and I was just looking at him, and it was almost like he found a pressure point in my finger that just opened up my heart to my head and showed me in that moment that I could be one of his parents, one of his dads."

Then after marriage equality became legal in New York state in 2011, Danny and Pete decided to tie the knot, their 10-year old son suggested the same judge who suggested Pete adopt be the one to marry them. After Pete reached out to her, she was "thrilled by the idea of officiating our marriage. All we had to do was pick a date and time," Pete recalled.

"This woman, the very reason we're a family, is once again, the very reason we're getting married. It was like coming full circle," Danny added to the BBC.

At the time of his adoption, Pete made a picture book with the story of Kevin's discovery, which he decorated with clip art, and when Kevin was three or four, he and Danny would read it to him every night before bedtime, the BBC added. When Kevin learned it was his story, he was so proud he took the book to school to share his classmates.

Kevin is now 20 years old, and at college studying mathematics and computer science. He loves playing ultimate frisbee, has run numerous marathons and danced with the National Dance Institute from the age of nine to 14. Pete says when Kevin wants to learn something, he just goes out and does it, and has taught himself piano and guitar.

"Kevin's always been a respectful kid," Pete told the BBC. "He's empathic and kind. He keeps his emotions close to the vest. He's an observer, doesn't crave or seek attention. He's a private person, but also a quiet leader."

Reviewing the book, Kirkus Reviews wrote: "The story excels at highlighting the determination of loving fathers while still including realistic moments of hesitation, doubt, and fear that occur for new and soon-to-be parents . . . Family snapshots and a closing author's note emphasize that the most important thing in any family is love."

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