The True Story of Two Men Who Found Fatherhood on the Subway

An abandoned baby and a judge with a hunch turned two New York men into parents.

By Peter Mercurio from The New York Times

Kevin 2 years old

Kevin calls Peter (left) “Papi,” and Danny (right) “Daddy.”

Over the next decade, our baby, Kevin, grew into a bright, conscientious, and athletic boy who loves math, baseball, and dance. In 2011, when New York State passed a law allowing Danny and me to get married, Kevin suggested that we ask the judge who performed his adoption to officiate our wedding.

“Great idea,” I replied. “Would you like to meet her?”

“Sure. Think she’d remember me?” he asked.

“There’s only one way to find out,” I said.

I composed a query letter and e-mailed it to the Manhattan family court. Within hours, a court attorney called to say that of course the judge remembered us, and she was thrilled by the idea of officiating our marriage.

A month later, back in family court after 12 years, Kevin reached out to shake the judge’s hand.

“Can I give you a hug?” she asked. After they separated, the judge asked Kevin about school and his interests, hobbies, and friends.When we finally remembered the purpose of the visit, Danny and I moved into position to exchange vows. I reflected on the improbable circumstances that delivered 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 had 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 Mercurio, a playwright and web designer, Danny Stewart, a social worker, and Kevin live in Manhattan.

Courtesy Peter Mercurio

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