Danny and Peter weren’t planning on adopting a baby, but when Danny found a newborn wrapped in a sweatshirt in the subway, everything changed.
The day started like any other but with one tiny miracle on a subway platform in New York.
”I glanced down and saw what I thought was just a baby doll,” Danny Stewart told a TV reporter. ”His upper body and his head were wrapped in a dark sweatshirt. But as I started to go up the stairs, he started to move, so I knew he was alive.”
That was 12 years ago and now, Danny’s partner Peter Mercurio has revealed to The New York Times the miraculous get-your-Kleenex events that followed.
“Danny called me that day, frantic. “I found a baby!” he shouted. “I called 911, but I don’t think they believed me. No one’s coming. I don’t want to leave the baby alone. Get down here and flag down a police car or something.” By nature Danny is a remarkably calm person, so when I felt his heart pounding through the phone line, I knew I had to run.”
“What neither of us knew, or could have predicted, was that Danny had not just saved an abandoned infant; he had found our son.”
Help finally did arrive for the abandoned baby and Danny retold his story to an endless parade of media outlets fascinated by the story how he saved “Baby Ace” – nicknamed after the southbound platform of the A, C and E subway platform that he was discovered on.
Three months later, Danny appeared in the family court to give an account of how he found the baby.
Out of the blue, the judge asked, “Would you be interested in adopting this baby?”
To Peter’s shock, Danny answered, “Yes.”
And, to the surprise of everyone present, wheels were set in motion to make the adoption happen. Within weeks the couple were foster parents.
Peter recalls, “with the baby’s eyes staring up at me, and all the innocence and hope he represented, I, like Danny, was completely hooked.”
They had never considered adopting a baby before and their lives were not geared for child rearing. Peter was an aspiring playwright working as a part-time word processor and Danny was a social worker. While Peter ackowledges that Danny had “patience and selflessness galore” he didn’t know how to change a nappy, let alone nurture a child.
During the year they spent as as foster parents, while the caseworker conducted background checks and determined their ability to be good parents, they thought a lot about the judge in their adoption case. “Did she know Danny was a social worker and therefore thought he would make a good parent? Would she have asked him to adopt if she knew Danny was gay and in a relationship?”
After the judge signed the official order at the baby’s final adoption hearing, Peter raised his hand and asked: “Your honour, we’ve been wondering why you asked Danny if he was interested in adopting?”
The judge replied: “I had a hunch. Was I wrong?”
And so, Baby Ace became Kevin and grew from an infant to a boy with Peter and Danny as his parents.
Last year, New York State allowed Danny and Peter to legally marry.
“Why don’t you ask the judge who performed my adoption to marry you and Dad?” Kevin suggested to Danny one morning on their walk to school.
Peter sent off an email and, within hours, “a court attorney called to say that, of course, the judge remembered us, and was thrilled by the idea of officiating our marriage”.
When Peter, Danny and Kevin arrived at the courthouse last July, the judge enveloped Kevin in a hug.
Peter writes: “When Danny and I moved into position to exchange vows, I reflected on the improbable circumstances that delivered all of us to this moment. We weren’t supposed to be there, two men, with a son we had never dreamed of by our side, getting married by a woman who changed and enriched our lives more than she would ever know. But there we were, thanks to a fateful discovery and a judicious hunch.”
Peter has written a screenplay about his family’s adoption journey, called “Found (A True Story).” Watch a teaser for it below.
Originally appeared at ivillage.com.au
—featured image by TheDanLevy/Flickr