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How an opportunity encounter in a New York subway station led to an sudden household


Pete Mercurio was strolling out the door to satisfy his then-partner (now husband) Danny Stewart for dinner in August 2000 when his cellphone rang. It was Stewart, calling to inform him he’d be late. He’d discovered an deserted child within the subway and had known as 911 from a payphone.

Stewart, a social employee, had noticed a bit of bundle wrapped in a sweatshirt whereas strolling by means of an eerily empty station. At first, he thought it was a doll, maybe left behind by a toddler, till he noticed a tiny leg transfer. He shortly found it was a new child child, the umbilical twine nonetheless hooked up.

Mercurio, who authored a guide about this opportunity encounter, spoke to CNN about that night time, and about how he and Stewart ended up elevating the child as their very own.

“He had truly tried to get on an specific prepare and could not get on one,” Mercurio remembers of Stewart’s path that fateful day. “The incontrovertible fact that he even acquired on an area was form of miraculous as a result of who is aware of if he had gotten on an specific if he’d even had discovered the child.”

Mercurio says one thing made Stewart look again on the bundle and see the new child’s small movement. The child, a boy, was alive and respiration. Authorities mentioned he was simply hours previous once they arrived.

Mercurio ran to the station, a block away from his condo, and located Stewart there with two law enforcement officials.

“One of them was carrying the child in his arms,” he says. “Just a chill raced up my backbone. Like, it is an unbelievable factor.”

The child boy was transported to a close-by hospital, and the boys have been overcome with emotion at what had simply occurred.

“At one level I simply turned to Danny and I mentioned, ‘You’re going to be — we will be — linked to this child in a roundabout way or one other for the remainder of your life.’ I mentioned, ‘Maybe not tomorrow or subsequent week or a yr or 5 years from now, however finally he is gonna find out about this night time and he would possibly need to attempt to discover you and perhaps we are able to ship a present or be in contact with him on today, yearly.'”

The couple had no concept what was about to unfold.

A stroke of fine luck smoothed the adoption course of

The child, who was named Daniel Ace Doe after Stewart and the A/C/E subway line, was within the state’s care whereas a citywide search was underway for the boy’s mother and father.

Three months later, Stewart was requested to testify at a listening to concerning the day the child was discovered. The choose requested him an sudden query.

“In December of 2000, at that listening to, the choose requested him, ‘Would you be inquisitive about adopting?’ He mentioned, ‘Yes, however I do know it isn’t that straightforward.’ She mentioned, ‘Well, it may be.’ We did not know what she meant by that,” Mercurio says.

The two grew to become foster mother and father to the child, who they named Kevin, and adopted him two years later in December of 2002.

“And then that was it. We by no means noticed the choose once more. And in 2012, once we have been deciding to get married, Kevin on a stroll to highschool mentioned he knew that there was a choose concerned in creating our household,” Mercurio says.

“We shared every part with him, so he knew every part. He mentioned, ‘Don’t judges marry folks?’ So, I mentioned, ‘Do you need to meet the choose that finalized your adoption?’ And he nodded his head. And in order that’s how I acquired in contact with the choose once more, ten years later.”

Pete, Kevin and Danny in 2007.

When the couple spoke with the choose, they requested her how she was in a position to assist facilitate Kevin’s adoption so shortly.

In one among many small miracles that introduced Kevin to them, the choose mentioned that on the time Kevin was discovered there was a pilot program in New York that gave her the authority to expedite the adoption course of in particular instances of abandonment to put a child in a loving residence.

“She was in a position to make fast selections to put that child in a pre-adoptive residence as shortly as doable,” Mercurio says. “So he did not languish within the system.”

That pilot program lasted solely six months and was then discontinued, based on Mercurio.

“So many little issues like that added up with out our data,” Mercurio says.

Kevin is now a senior in school

At the time Kevin arrived, the couple did not have some huge cash. They have been in student-loan debt, however they made it work. Family and buddies acquired them every part they wanted for Kevin, they usually figured it out alongside the way in which.

Kevin, now 21, is a pupil at Swarthmore College. Mercurio is sharing their household’s story with Kevin and Stewart’s encouragement, however they declined to be interviewed.

Danny, Kevin and Pete in 2018.

“We nonetheless cannot consider it. I imply, we consider it as a result of we now have a 21-year-old child that is graduating from school this spring,” Mercurio says. “I really like this child greater than something on this planet, I actually did not know this sort of love existed on this world till my son got here into our life. And Danny feels the identical approach.”

As Kevin grew up, the 2 mentioned their household story with him.

“We talked about how our household grew to become a household overtly in entrance of him. When he went in social gatherings, [if] anyone would ask, we did not defend him from listening to it from a really younger age,” Mercurio says.

They needed Kevin to really feel optimistic about their household origin story, so Mercurio wrote a guide about it that they learn to him each night time. When he was 5, Kevin realized it was about him.

“I pasted collectively a guide of his story, which tells the entire thing about Danny being on the subway and the child being discovered,” Mercurio says.

Last yr, that very private story was revealed with the title “Our Subway Baby,” which Mercurio calls a “love letter to our son.”

The book cover for "Our Subway Baby"

While Kevin’s organic mother and father are nonetheless unknown, Mercurio says they really feel solely compassion for them.

“One approach or one other, that is a determined measure to take. And I can solely think about the anguish that was leaving your little one,” he says. “We’ve at all times informed Kevin from a really younger age that he was unnoticed of affection, in order that he might be discovered and cared for. We by no means used the phrase abandonment or deserted. We mentioned she left you the place you possibly can be discovered by us.”

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