If you want to understand how Peter Mercurio, Danny Stewart, and a little boy named Kevin became a family of three, you’ll have to travel back in time 12 years and go all the way to the 14th Street subway station in Chelsea. It was Stewart who found the baby, and he thought he was looking at a doll at first. “As I was leaving the subway, I glanced over to my left and thought I saw a doll,” Stewart said to NBC 4 New York in an interview. “I continued up the stairs because I didn’t think anything of it, but I glanced back at the floor and I saw legs moving.”
It didn’t take Stewart long to realize that he wasn’t looking at a doll, but rather, an abandoned newborn baby. The baby boy was bundled up in a sweatshirt and his umbilical cord was still attached. After he called 911, Stewart next made a call to his partner, Peter Mercurio. “Danny is a really calm person so when he called me frantic, I knew something was wrong,” Mercurio later said. “I literally felt his heart beat through the line and the panic in his voice.” Mercurio left immediately to head to the subway station, and by the time he got there, the NYPD had already responded.
The police named the baby Daniel “ACE” Doe because Danny found him at the A-C-E train station on that fateful day in August 2000. The police conducted a citywide search for the mother of the baby and it was covered widely by local news stations in New York. After three months, no one had come forward, and Steward found himself at a family court hearing explaining to the judge that he had found the baby. Suddenly, the judge asked Stewart if he was interested in adopting the baby boy. “I think everyone in the courtroom, their jaws dropped, everyone was quiet,” said Stewart. “Everyone was looking at me, and I said, ‘Yes, but it’s not that easy.’ And she said, ‘Well, it can be.’”
At that time, Danny and Peter had only been dating for three years and they had not yet had a discussion about having a family together. At that time, keep in mind, gay marriage wasn’t legal, so they weren’t married. However, Stewart didn’t hesitate. He immediately knew what he wanted to do. “I thought, ‘Maybe this is destiny, maybe this is divine intervention. This is a gift we’re given and how can we say no to a gift?’” said Stewart. Much to their surprise, the judge asked them to care for the baby over a holiday weekend and the little boy has been with them ever since. “It was the best Christmas present ever. It was amazing,” Danny said.
They named the little boy Kevin and adopted him. In a tear-jerking twist of fate, the judge who proposed the adoption to the couple later married Danny and Peter. Watch the video below about their story.