Back in August 2000, Danny was on his way to meet his partner, Pete, for dinner when he noticed a bundle of clothes weirdly tucked up against a wall in 14th street substation in Manhattan.
“I glanced down and saw what I thought was just a baby doll,” Danny told Channel 11 News at the time. “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.”
In a BBC interview, Danny said that the situation ‘seemed really unreal,’ but he tried to call for help, unfortunately, no one stopped so he just ran outside to use the payphone to call the police.
Danny also called his partner, who got there while the police took the baby to the hospital.
“It’s not the end,” Pete told Danny at the time. “A child can’t just fall into your life this way and disappear.”
“We’ll probably think of him for the rest of our lives,” Danny said. “We should keep track of him so we can send him a birthday card every year.”
Danny went to see the child at the hospital the next day. However, he was told that only family members were allowed to see the baby. A pediatrician also told him at that time that the baby would be possibly placed in foster care.
But not for long, because in December 2000, Danny was contacted by the Administration for Children’s Services and asked him to be present at a family court hearing for the baby.
“She says, ‘Mr. Stewart, I want to let you know what’s happening here, in instances where we have a baby that has been abandoned, we want to place them in pre-adoptive foster care as quickly as possible,”‘ Danny recalled.
“In my head, I’m thinking, ‘Well that makes sense.’ And then the next thing out of her mouth was, ‘Would you be interested in adopting this baby?’”
Danny was startled and admits that he did not think of adopting at that time.
“But at the same time, 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.
Danny said yes and told the judge that he will adopt the baby. Shortly, he left the courtroom to call and tell Pete about his decision.
Pete is against the idea at first, telling Danny to tell the judge he’d changed his mind. He said that they are not ready to be parents, especially that they are still living with a roommate at that time. The two argued about the adoption and almost broke up over it.
Until Danny convinced Pete to join him for a foster home visit a week after the court hearing. And as soon as Pete held the baby, he felt an ‘instant wave of warmth.’
“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 at that moment that I could be one of his parents, one of his dads.”
The couple named the boy Kevin, and they both knew at that time that adoption is a lengthy and messy process. But in an extreme stroke of luck, the judge in the court hearing offered to let them take Kevin home just two days later, in time for Christmas.
As Kevin got older, the couple created an illustrated book for him about his one-of-a-kind story.
Two decades later, Kevin is now 20-years-old, standing at 6ft tall, and is currently in college studying math and computer science. He is also pursuing a STEM degree.
Kevin can also play piano and guitar, has run marathons, and spent years dancing with the National Dance Institute.
Pete describes his son as respectful, empathetic, kind, and funny. He added that the three of them like to watch the New York Mets play, and visit national parks.
“I can’t imagine my life if it didn’t turn out this way,” Danny said. “My life has become much more enriched and full.”
“It has changed my world view, my perspective, my whole lens,” Danny added. “I did not know that this level of deep love existed in the world until my son came into my life.”
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