"I glanced back one more time, and that's when I noticed his legs moved"
April 4, 2021 12:34 PM   Subscribe

Danny Stewart, 34, was late for dinner with his partner, Pete Mercurio, 32. The couple had met three years earlier through a friend in Pete's softball team. Later Danny had moved in with Pete and his flatmate, but on this summer evening he had been back to his sublet apartment in Harlem to pick up the post. As Danny was hurrying out of the station something caught his eye. "I noticed on the floor tucked up against the wall, what I thought was a baby doll," he says.
'We found a baby on the subway - now he's our son' by Lucy Wallis. BBC Outlook episode on this story.
posted by Kattullus (30 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow! Beautiful story.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 12:45 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


"...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."

omg. crying.
posted by hopeless romantique at 1:01 PM on April 4 [11 favorites]


It's so very dusty in here, that must be why I'm crying.

What a lovely story, and here's to "Judge Cooper".
posted by mogget at 1:17 PM on April 4 [7 favorites]


*bawls*

People can be so f-ing good sometimes.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:40 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


This story is so happy-making, I would like to give it a thousand favorites. In a time of many difficulties, this is hope for all of us.
posted by mumimor at 1:53 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


This is great. The parents are awesome. I wish everyone the best.

I'd also divorce someone who came home with an unannounced, adopted baby within an hour. With good wishes, generous terms, regret, and utter astonishment. That's a truly shitty thing to do to a partner, and an even more shitty thing to do to a good Samaritan as a judge. It's only sheer luck that this absolute abnegation of duty on the part of the government happened to work out beautifully. Which is worth celebrating. But, also, suggests we can do better.
posted by eotvos at 1:59 PM on April 4 [14 favorites]


That's a truly shitty thing to do to a partner, and an even more shitty thing to do to a good Samaritan as a judge.

Seconded. What the hell.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:31 PM on April 4


Fuck, that made me cry buckets.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 2:42 PM on April 4


I'd also divorce someone who came home with an unannounced, adopted baby within an hour...That's a truly shitty thing to do to a partner, and an even more shitty thing to do to a good Samaritan as a judge. It's only sheer luck that this absolute abnegation of duty on the part of the government happened to work out beautifully.

But that’s not what happened. The judge didn’t just say Danny could have the baby, she asked if he was interested in adopting the baby, meaning if he was, he could start the application process which involves training, home assessment, etc. Yes, she fast-tracked it once they said yes, but that’s different from just handing over a baby that day.

Danny didn’t bring home a baby right then and there, he just said he was interested and went home and discussed it with his partner. Who, yes, was shocked and honestly not sure if he wanted to be a parent, and they had to discuss it a LOT. But...Danny never just came home with a surprise adopted baby. By the time the adoption happened, the couple had worked it out, Pete decided to stay with Danny and they’d raise him together, and they’d gone through (admittedly fast-tracked) training and home assessments etc.

And I’m not seeing abnegation of duty by the government here—the judge didn’t just let some unvetted person waltz out of her courtroom with a baby! She just asked the person who had found the baby, and demonstrated a lot of care and concern over what happened to him, if he’d be interested in fostering and then adopting should the baby need to be adopted. Then the baby went to a pre-vetted foster home (NOT Danny and Pete) until they made their decision to foster-to-adopt.

Previous FPP (not a double; it’s different links from 8 years ago—I’m really happy to read this update! Can’t believe Kevin is 20 years old now).
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:49 PM on April 4 [126 favorites]


The timelapse photo series of Kevin growing up was great. None of this was how anyone planned their lives, but it seems that things worked out really well.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:54 PM on April 4 [10 favorites]


A decade later, the same judge married Danny & Pete. From the article: When Kevin was 10, he was on his way to school when "papa Pete" turned to ask him what he thought about an idea he and "daddy Danny" had been discussing the night before. It was 2011 and New York had become the sixth state in the US to legalise gay marriage. Although Danny says he and Pete already felt married "by default", this would just make it official.

Kevin was excited about the idea and turned to his papa to ask him, "Don't judges marry people?" It was an inspired idea, so Pete sent an email to Manhattan Family Court to ask if the same judge - Judge Cooper - would officiate at their marriage. Within two hours they got a reply, she would be delighted. [...] [Cooper] met Kevin at the marriage ceremony. Danny says it was an occasion that left him overcome with emotion, happiness and amazement. "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," he says.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:13 PM on April 4 [30 favorites]


I imagine that they're were plenty of nonverbal indications, in that courtroom, which led the judge to think Kevin might have more than a passing concern for the baby.
posted by meese at 4:25 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


A letter of advice from Kevin's parents as he headed off to college.

"My boys on the subway, then and now" (a pair of photos).

More photos, celebrating Father's Day.
posted by brainwane at 4:46 PM on April 4 [12 favorites]


"Don’t scroll down; that’s where the trolls reside." - advice for the (modern) ages
posted by mbo at 5:12 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


I'd also divorce someone who came home with an unannounced, adopted baby within an hour. With good wishes, generous terms, regret, and utter astonishment. That's a truly shitty thing to do to a partner, and an even more shitty thing to do to a good Samaritan as a judge. It's only sheer luck that this absolute abnegation of duty on the part of the government happened to work out beautifully. Which is worth celebrating. But, also, suggests we can do better.

You're reading a brief puff piece in a newspaper. You shouldn't expect it to communicate the nuances of the situation. Neither what the Judge saw in the man or situation, nor what the man knew of the relationship with his partner.

Further, the judge had "been given the authority to expedite" cases. Presumably there was both a need for this and the judge was, for reasons not mentioned in the article, qualified and therefore specifically chosen to do so.
posted by dobbs at 5:45 PM on April 4 [10 favorites]


well shit now i’m crying today
posted by tehgubner at 6:09 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


“Every baby is born with a loaf of bread under its arm.” -Spanish proverb
posted by anshuman at 6:48 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


god damn. beautiful.
posted by baptismal at 7:38 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


I'm not crying, you're crying.

Okay, fine, I am crying. Those photos. The wedding shot with them all so handsome in their suits together!
posted by biogeo at 7:54 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


I'd also divorce someone who came home with an unannounced, adopted baby within an hour.

Not only is this a fundamentally inaccurate description of what happened here, it's also a bafflingly aggro reaction to a story about an abandoned child being adopted by a loving family. Did someone actually do this to you once or something?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:04 PM on April 4 [53 favorites]


I know RTFA is always a doomed motto, but some days it's more doomed than others.
posted by Drastic at 9:54 PM on April 4 [6 favorites]


Found under a cabbage leaf, in a basket, in a hare’s form - fairytales are fairytales, but those parts are possible.
posted by clew at 10:18 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


All three of them were so lucky.
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:53 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


Swift adoption really makes a difference in a child's development. The first months are so important. That judge is a wise woman.
posted by mumimor at 12:37 AM on April 5 [16 favorites]


It's a sweet story, and I also like to think that it helps the mother, wherever she might be. Whatever circumstances led her to be so desperate and afraid as to leave her child in the subway station, she knows (if she wants to at least) that he grew up happy and well.
posted by tavella at 8:41 AM on April 5 [16 favorites]


Swift adoption really makes a difference in a child's development. The first months are so important. That judge is a wise woman.

Yes, as other have noted, there was no surprise adoption, just a fast-tracked one. The article also refers to a pilot program intended to move babies into permanent adoptive homes as soon as possible, probably because it does make a big difference to their development. I don't know all the research on attachment, but I have heard that basically you want some stability in caregivers for babies or that can affect how they relate to people in the long-run.
posted by jb at 11:42 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


Also, in regards to the argument about the speed of placement, note that Danny was a social worker, which indicates a certain basic level of vetting had been done to get that job, which probably gave the judge more confidence that Kevin would be in a safe situation even if the rest of the home study hadn't been completed.
posted by tavella at 1:51 PM on April 5 [7 favorites]


I also want to say that maybe don't put it on the bio-mother. Baby could have been taken from her and abandoned.
posted by frecklefaerie at 2:35 PM on April 5


Or she could have reason to believe that if she kept him he would be killed.

Leaving him unnoticed seems harder in a station than, say, an alley; but far more likely to get the infant found quickly.
posted by clew at 2:57 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


A lovely story.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:14 PM on April 7


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