When Danny Stewart noticed a baby wrapped in a jumper while walking through a New York subway station, he could never have imagined how his life would change.
Now, almost 21 years later, they're sharing their story again in a new book, Our Subway Baby.
It all began when Danny was walking through subway station in Chelsea in August, 2000 when he found the little boy. At first dismissing it as a doll, he rushed to call emergency services and his then partner, Peter when he noticed the baby moving.
Reliving that moment now, he says it still feels surreal.
"I thought maybe there was someone nearby who knew what was going on – that there was a baby here," the social worker, now 55, told the New York Post.
"I scanned, looking, but didn't see anyone. There was a baby on the ground and no one was around. How could this be?"
The baby, who still had his umbilical cord attached, was taken to hospital, and the couple went about their lives. Until a court hearing a few months later, held after the baby's mother could not be found, changed their lives completely.
Appearing at the hearing to detail his discovery, Danny was shocked when the presiding judge asked if he would be willing to adopt the baby- and by his own response.
"I think everyone in the courtroom, their jaws dropped, everyone was quiet," Stewart told NBC News New York. "Everyone was looking at me, and I said, 'Yes, but it's not that easy.' And she said, 'Well, it can be.'"
"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?'" he added.
A week later, they found themselves having a trial weekend with Kevin, who has been with them ever since.
Now, Mercurio has detailed their incredible story for the book, described as a 'the story of how one baby found his family' in Daddy Danny and Papa Pete.
As he told the BBC recently, he knew the moment he held Kevin it was meant to be.
"The baby squeezed my finger with his entire hand so hard," he told the broadcaster. "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 in that moment that I could be one of his parents, one of his dads."
What a pleasure and honor to stop by @BooksofWonder with @dlstew65 to sign copies of Our Subway Baby. 👨🏻🤝👨🏽🚇👶🏽— Pete Mercurio (@petemercurio) September 13, 2020
Illustrated by @VeloEspinosa #oursubwaybaby available Tuesday 9/15.@penguinrandom @penguinkids pic.twitter.com/AxbM19C7Ch
Now 20, Kevin is a college student and a 'quiet leader', according to Mercurio. And both he and Stewart agree they could not imagine their lives should Danny have taken a different route that day.
"I can't imagine my life if it didn't turn out this way," Steward said. "My life has become much more enriched and full. It has changed my world view, my perspective, my whole lens."
"I did not know that this level of deep love existed in the world until my son came into my life," Mercurio agreed.