Your Extraordinary Family Stories

Friday, March 08, 2013

Peter Mercurio and Daniel Stewart, who find a baby boy in the subway and end up adopting him, in WNYC's Studio 2

You may have read this amazing story in the New York Times about Peter Mercurio and Daniel Stewart, who find a baby boy in the subway and end up adopting him. They tell their story.

We want to know: Do you have an extraordinary story about becoming a family? Tell us your story. Call in at 212-433-9692 or leave a comment below.


Peter Mercurio and Daniel Stewart

Comments [32]

David Abney from Apopka Florida

A powerful message to share:

My name is David Abney (A.k.a. DJ Blk)
I am writing this story to you to honor my son David Jackson Abney "DJ" who was born on July 27th, 2013 and died July 27th 2013. I have a message to spread to everyone, and am now (more than ever) trying to get this message all over the world, for DJ.

Please, excuse long email, but please read till the end!

My wife Heather & I have 3 boys still with us. Ben (10) James (7) Josh (5). We live In Apopka Fl. Heather & I have been married since June 6, 2009, together since March 2007!
We have always had an "interesting" family set up! His/Hers/ & Ours!! I had Ben in 2003,(before Heather) Heather had James 2006... We had Josh 2008! We are very young parents, and created a HUGE family REAL quick! At that time I was a Finance Manager for Saturn of Orlando in Casselberry (now closed) She was in the medical field at the time. We had great jobs, great kids, friends, family all around. We lived in Longwood at the time. Life seemed to be great!

The credit crunch hit Nov.2008. Auto Dealers NATION WIDE went under. Jobs were cut quick... I was one of the first to go. With the economy failing, the company had to drastically downsize, and I was layed off.

I spent a few months looking at other car dealers, but realized quick ALL dealers were in the same boat. Thinking because I had "Management" experience, I applied to thousands of various manager positions all over Orlando. I came to realize once again that there were millions of people doing the same thing. I was told at countless interviews that they just had more "qualified applicants to pick from." It was true after all.. Yes, I had 2 years of F&I experience, but I had no college education, & no other experience other than 5 years total experience in Car business. I understood and saw that chances of being hired on somewhere where I was making same income as Saturn was VERY slim.
So now, 6 months of unemployment, I started applying for jobs that were entry level. I JUST NEEDED WORK at time. Those interviews were great! I was told countless times, "your over qualified for position". WOW... I'm under qualified at Manager Jobs, but OVER qualified at Entry Level. lol, kind of ironic I thought.... I went through this back and fourth process for over a year trying to find a Job that would be able to support my family. I was able to find a job with Sprint for 6 months.... but that was temp and came to an end. After that I found part time work with a family member... but that was Temp as well. Finally found work with a "door to door" sales company that I worked for 3 mo. until that ended. During this time Heather & I grew apart. The stresses of Finances were taking its toll on us. Me not working was taking a toll on my mind. We weren’t the same people anymore, and we knew it. But we did our best to make everything work for our 3 boys.

Feb. 17 2014 12:41 PM
David ABNEY from apopka florida

was layed off with little to no work from Nov. 2008 - Sept. 2011. I still don't know how we survived, but we did.

I was hired at Mullinax Ford as a Service Advisor in Sept. 2011. Back in the car business, but more importantly, BACK TO WORK! I learned my position quick, and worked my tail off and was promoted in January (4 mo.) to a Service Manager Position. In Feb. 2012 Heather & I were still having issues. But this was the month that all came out in open. I was done with the relationship, and she had no other choice but to accept. A month later when I regretted my decision, Heather had already moved on in her mind. We struggled to keep our relationship together from March - Aug. In Aug, we both realized what we were doing to our kids, and to each other, and we decided to stay together.

Within a few months, Heather & I both noticed something had changed. Our newfound love seemed to be diminishing, leaving only the painful memories of the last 4 years. We once again started growing apart. During this time I found an interest in producing Electronic Dance Music, and quickly filled my love loss with trying to Produce & continue working. In December 2012 we found out we were pregnant with our 4th boy. Trying to stay excited about the news, we celebrated, but both deep down knew that we weren’t in the right place in our marriage to have another. But we kept going, kept growing further and further away from each other. There was little to no communication between us, and the little we did have usually was negative. This time was harder than the year before when we had problems. Because this time we were having problems AFTER we reconciled, AND we were pregnant. It was even harder having to deal with the three sons in our house who could all see and feel the tension between Heather & I. They didn’t understand, shoot…. None of us really did. This lasted from Jan. 2013 – April 2013.

In April, I decided I needed to find information on what was going on in her head. It was BAD at the house, VERY awkward for the both us, and our children. I went through her phone and found out she was leaving the house in a month.

From THAT very moment, when I read those words, my life… has NEVER been the same.

Feb. 17 2014 12:40 PM
David Abney from apopka florida

’ll be honest. I fell into depression within 5 sec. We were at Josh’s birthday party, and I couldn’t hold it together. (REALLY BAD TIMING ON MY PART) Heather knew by my face that I knew. We got through the party, and talked at home, she explained she was moving into an apartment around the corner, and wanted to raise our kids together. But she was done. I begged her to stay, she said no. I left, and I went into a drug-educed depression. I didn’t come home or check in. When I did two days later, it was worse, & it was ALL me at that time. I was angry, I wanted to have my kids with me, and my newborn on the way. I wanted things to work. We packed some of her things, and the baby’s room, I cried, I begged her again, she said no.. I left again, and got more angry, and in my mind finally JUST ACCEPTED IT… This all happened of course AFTER my 2 weeks of a drug induced depression. I was back at work, CLEAN…. But struggling with life, with the divorce about to happen, kids…I asked my company to give me another position where I didn’t have to manage or have extra stress. I explained I needed to concentrate on my boys and getting my life back on track. I was declined, even when I explained I knew I could no longer handle such position and wanted to resign. I was told if I resigned I would not have any job at the dealership. So I stayed. I went to work everyday more depressed. I wasn’t handling my position correctly and my employees could tell. Things were going down hill, and my depression grew deeper, I wasn’t using drugs anymore, but I was trapped in my mind. Heather had a moment of “truth” and decided she wanted to stay. I was still angry, and just wanted to move on, but her sudden awaking made me angrier. She stayed in the house, and one day we talked. We were finally OPEN and HONEST about EVERYTHING that had happened in our relationship. We pinpointed some major events that caused us to grow apart, we told secrets that we had been keeping for years. And when it was ALL on the table… we found each other again.

Ok.. so… when I found out in April she was leaving I decided to start DJing, I already knew some about music, and wanted to learn to spin. I found comfort during the last year in music, I was miserable in my job, and I had a dream to make it big. My partner & I Von (who has 10 years in Music Business) created a “joke” back in Feb 2013 about BLKnWHT .. we even came up with “Stop Living In The Grey Area Of Life….Start Seeing BLKnWHT.

Feb. 17 2014 12:39 PM
David Abney from apopka florida

Heather & I were doing great. OUR FAMILY has NEVER BEEN HAPPIER since her & I became completely honest in our Marriage. I was apart of the pregnancy now. We named him David Jackson Abney “DJ” I wanted him to have my name, and Heather loved Jackson! She also is my biggest fan and believes in what BLKnWHT stands for. So she thought the nickname

“DJ” would fit perfect! And it did…

It’s now July 2013. DJ is due Aug1st rather than the 15th! I decided I had practiced DJing enough, and had enough backing to build my team. Von & I created BLKnWHT Productions, Inc. We have a team of 10 people who have the same passion about spreading the MESSAGE of BLKnWHT, & we have a PLAN to succeed. We came up with a strong business plan, and all we had to do at this point was get gigs. My Social Media Manager created a FB page for BLKnWHT Productions, Inc, and we started to get followers while we looked for gigs.

July 26th, 2013 Heather & I had to go to hospital for some abnormal results on DJ’s stress test. We were at the hospital for a few hours and they sent us home around 4:30

By 10:45 we were back at hospital, and by 11:01, we learned we lost our DJ.

His official birth date was July 27th, 2013.

The Dr. said that the placenta ripped from the uterus causing all the blood to leave DJ and his heart to stop. This is SO devastating. Heather, the boys, & I don’t understand. Heather & I are lucky to even be together, we climbed some of the tallest mountains… we made it through 3 years of unemployment, and though life’s curves. We can’t believe that this has happened.

We buried David Jackson Abney (DJ) On Aug. 1st, the same day we were supposed to bring him home. This is the hardest thing that Heather, the Boys, and myself have ever had to face… and we will NEVER be the same. No parent should EVER have to loose a child, and our hearts go out to anyone who has.

So it’s 6 months since our world was flipped upside down all over again. I have had to sit back and make sure I don’t fall to deep into depression again. We’re staying positive. We BELIEVE in our message. And we have dedicated our Company to David Jackson Abney Our “DJ” Angel.

Here is what we have to say to the world:

Feb. 17 2014 12:38 PM
David Abney from apopka florida

“A Dedication to:

David Jackson Abney "DJ"

The Loss of my Son, has been both tragic & shocking. My wife & I never thought that this could happen to our family. All of us here at BLKnWHT Productions, Inc. will never be the same.

But sitting back and dwelling on the situation, dwelling on life, I think about my family and the mountains we have climbed. I think about the "box" we used to live in, and how much different life is "outside" the box. We think about BLKnWHT and what it truly stands for. The message is the same, but the dedication to SPREAD the message has become THAT more important.



People.. it's simple. Definitely easier said than done, but it IS achievable. Don't live in the "GREY" area of life, where DRAMA, PAIN, DECEPTION, ANGER, HURT & GRIEF await you. HOWEVER take a hold of life, and make it the best you possibly can. In the BLKnWHT area of life you see past the negative, and you channel all your energy to positive thinking, and you find a way to help others with thinking positive. You see in-between the lines of life.. where there is only BLKnWHT. And that’s our true message...

BLKnWHT Productions was NEVER about a DJ duo throwing a party.. rather about SHOWING everyone you CAN live in the BLKnWHT area of life, you CAN chase your dreams, & you CAN succeed. And that message is the same now as it was 3 months ago.

Remember, there are no promises of tomorrow. Live your life to the fullest, and you will have Honored those who couldn't.

Help us spread the message, LIKE our page, LISTEN to our music... REPOST if you believe we CAN make a difference.

Come escape life with us through music, even if just for a moment

Let's live each day of Life together, as if it was our last.

A message to DJ:

Here we are son

And we’re ALL here,

Gathered round to shed some tears

To celebrate the life you had

Life To short, SO sweet

Yes My Son, this is so sad.

Although we’ll never understand

Why you weren’t chosen to become a man

I will always keep you in my heart

And I promise you my son, our family will NEVER part.

Because in your short, sweet precious life

You saved your family from pain, darkness & strife

You brought your Big Brothers, Mommy & Daddy too

Closer together, you ARE the glue.

So here we are my son

And we’re ALL here,

To HONOR your life, to SCREAM & CHEER

To celebrate the life you had

Life To short, So Sweet

Yes my Son, this is so sad.

But rest assured my son

At the end of every night

We will remember why we live our life

It will be to honor you DJ

And the Life that YOU should have had.

We Love You”

Feb. 17 2014 12:38 PM
David Abney from Apopka Florida

Now is the time. To stop the drama, the hate, the negative. It’s time to live our lives, even if just for the people who never had the chance. It’s time to take responsibility for who we are. It’s time to have fun, while we take on life’s challenges. We are lucky to have air in our lungs.

BLKnWHT has a strong message. We need help getting it out there. I have tried to contact some well-known DJ’s for help like Armin Van Buuren, but it’s IMPOSSIBLE it seems to get to them.

We need an opportunity, We have great music, and We have great purpose. WE want to HONOR DJ, by spreading our message. And remember, OUR message is still the same as it was before the tragedy of our son... is just MEANS more, and the dedication to get the message out is even more urgent!

My Wife, my 4 boys, and I have been though so much. We’re just looking for a little help, a chance to channel these negative situations, into something great. But we can’t do it alone. My family is struggling after our loss, after the funeral... we don't know where to turn next... or where were going to live as of sept 1st... we need help.

I hope you have enjoyed our story of hope. We can only hope that this story can reach more people so that they may be touched and forever changed in how they live their life!

David & Heather Abney… Ben, James, Josh & DJ


Let your mind run free!
*Stop Living in Grey Area of Life.....
Start Seeing BLKnWHT*

Feb. 17 2014 12:37 PM

HelloPeace from Brooklyn, your story sounds extremely familiar, minus the good school. Can you ever establish a good relationship with a lost parents? I don't know, I couldn't. One of "my" kids in Mongolia had a similar experience; we found his mother by total coincidence, 15 years after she walked out of her son's life. Sadly they couldn't manage to establish a relationship. I believe there is often too much guilt felt on the parents side to see their children for who they are - which is all they want in my experience.

Mar. 09 2013 12:35 PM
Alex from NYC

Fuva, you are so welcome.

radio22, I just got a chance to read your post, which I also found very beautiful and moving. Thank you.

I'm with red Peppa--a very special comment section. Feeling very lucky to have read these posts.

Mar. 09 2013 11:50 AM
Red Peppa from the Garden

Maxwell Yerger: Please tell more of the story.

This has to be the most touching comment section ever!

Mar. 08 2013 10:04 PM
Katy from Washington DC

Actually as a complete sentimentalist, I want to see the wedding pictures. (minus kevin of course, but with the judge)

Mar. 08 2013 09:35 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Oh, Alex from NYC, thanks very much!

Mar. 08 2013 01:16 PM
ADaly from Brooklyn, NY

Nearly four years ago our life changed when the social worker from Children’s Services handed us our son. We had been pre-adoptive foster parents for only a few months and never expected to get a newborn, but we did.
In many ways the fact that we even made it through the process of getting licensed is a miracle. You see in New York City you can only adopt through the City by becoming a foster parent first.

I was working for in development for a non-profit agency that specialized in foster care and adoption the process was still incredibly daunting. The fact that we were two men was less problematic then that most of the paper work was designed for traditional foster care applicants, not people looking to adopt through the system.
If it had not been for the assistance we got from friends working in the field, we might never have gotten through it. Even with their help it took 18 months to finalize our adoption (we jokingly say if we wrote a book it would be called “A Matter Of No Urgency.)

Our son was a “SafeHaven” baby, so there was no birthmother for the Administration for Children’s Services to try to hunt down and reunite him with (even if she says she does not want to raise her child) or any known family (no matter how distant). If there had been any relative in the picture it would have been even harder process.

Interestingly as the word got out at our church and among our friends about our success we were asked a great deal - "how we did it.” These were people who had either thought about adopting through the child welfare system, started the process or were just plan curious.

So I when the time was right my now husband and I decided to figure out a way to help some of those people. For the last year I have been working with other interested individuals and couples to help them adopt through the City. I started a little non-profit called to help.

It has been rewarding time for us but nothing will ever match that moment (4:49pm on April 9, 2009) when a baby was handed to us and became our son.

Mar. 08 2013 12:50 PM
Alex from NYC

Adoptive Parent from NJ, thank you for helping keep this important issue in the foreground. This is the kind of consideration thing that's easily overlooked, even as we're in the midst of feeling so understandably moved by this inspiring story.

Mar. 08 2013 12:18 PM
Alex from NYC

Fuva from harlemworld, thank you for your moving post. Your deep insights and beautifully economical language dovetail to speak worlds about you and your made-kin. Thank you.

Mar. 08 2013 12:09 PM
Pauline Mary Curley

The story about the subway daddies - I love it. It's the modern day NY version of Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest.'Jack was found in a "somewhat large handbag" ... "in Victoria station." As I listern to your subway story, I can Judy Dench onstage performing 'The Importance..'

Mar. 08 2013 12:00 PM
Web Surfer from nyc

the surfer Laird Hamilton has a serendipitous family story of how he met his father figure in life and introduced him to his mother. It's a beautiful story of fate working good.

Mar. 08 2013 12:00 PM
AndyVic from New York City


Mar. 08 2013 11:56 AM
Bob from Westchester

Who was the judge? I haven't seen her name mentioned in any of the stories, and she deserves credit for common sense and the courage to follow through on her instincts rather than taking the easier road.

Mar. 08 2013 11:52 AM
John from office

Who is the wife and who is the husband here??

Are they both husbands??

Who will the baby call dad??

Mar. 08 2013 11:51 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Loving Mike's questions. He's getting all the details.

Mar. 08 2013 11:50 AM
HelloPeace from Brooklyn

In my early thirties I met my father for the first time. He had abandoned my mother before I was born. As I grew older and would periodically ask my mom about my father, she would always tell me he had died -- but I knew it was not true because I remembered just enough of the stories my aunts would tell me when I was a toddler. In fact, as I would learn later, he had returned to his country, to follow the path his plutocratic family had set for him. When I met him in his own country, he was a leading political figure. In telling him about my life, he learned that his children, whom he had after me with his wife, had attended the same prominent east coast university as I had, at the same time. He expressed pride that "all his children" had attended this famous school.

Mar. 08 2013 10:56 AM
Ed from Larchmont

My twin sister and I were adopted by two different families and raised separately. I knew about her, she didn't know about me. Our adoptive families were both wonderful. I put my name in an adoption registry trying to get medical information and they made a match, what a joy. And we contacted our mother and her two sons.

Mar. 08 2013 09:10 AM
Adeel Usman from New York City

About 2 yrs my than GF (Susan) is a NYC ESL teacher in Chinatown NY, she and I were just discussing marriage and future.. And then one day she told me about a student who was smart but seemed like their was something else there. Well 2 weeks later we learn this kid (12) was abandoned by his mother with and living on his own in Chinatown NYC.. being picked up by truancy and was now being off to the NYC juvenile detention, My GF decided to take charge become a foster parent.. 2 yrs later, she and I are married and this kid is now the Top Student at his highschool and my wife,Susan is pregnant!

Mar. 07 2013 08:00 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Adoptive Parent from NJ: So, so true. Thanks.

Mar. 07 2013 11:15 AM
Adoptive parent from NJ

Caution, caution, caution! Information about a child's origins belongs to the child and should be kept private by the parents. Although the "how I found my baby" story is heartwarming to most listeners, we must think ahead to what it will be like for that child growing up, when everyone around them knows that they were abandoned by their birth mother in a subway or a dumpster or a restroom. This is devastating information to most children and should be treated with the utmost sensitivity. That precious baby grows up to be a youngster and adolescent who wants privacy as they do the difficult work of incorporating hurtful information into their self-image and identity. Making their private business public can cause them great pain. People talk! Other kids and even some insensitive adults can say very hurtful things that are damaging and have long-lasting consequences.

Mar. 05 2013 12:00 PM
fuva from harlemworld

My birth father abandoned me when I was a child. Years later, during my brief stint as a tv actor, his new kids saw my (their) name in the credits, and pointed it out to him. He subsequently admitted that I was his abandoned child. The kids hunted me down. Will we ever develop a sustainable relationship? Can't say...

Nevertheless, the beautiful family that I do claim is very, very specially and fatefully made.

This message board had me reflecting not only on these stories, but also on how much created-kinship is part of my culture. In my hood, family rupture, serendipitous reunions and made families abound. The family-making impulse is on display in terms non-blood-kin use to refer to one another -- "fam", "bruh", "sis", "cuz", etc...

Mar. 05 2013 11:48 AM
Bob Abate from Yonkers

My Dad was a New York City Fireman at Engine 93 in Washington Heights and I'm an inner-city volunteer Math tutor who would very much like to hear the full story.

Bob Abate

Mar. 04 2013 01:53 PM
Maxwell Yerger from upper west side Manhattan

I am a retired New York city classroom teacher.I taught 5th grade at PS 115 in Washington Heights for several years.The long story is more interesting but for now here is the short version. I became guardian for a student in my classroom named Omar when he was 10. When he became an adult I legally adopted him. He is now 39, married and living in Washington Heights with his wife and two children. Evan, 4 and Bruce 2 have become the new joy of my life. I would love to relate the whole story if you are interested.

Mar. 04 2013 07:44 AM

I am a well-established cinematographer for documentaries and have traveled the world to shoot and tell otherwise inaccessible stories of human despair. One of these stories was about homeless children in Mongolia who lived within the underground heating system of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital; these kids were known as “manhole children”.

Early 2008 I found myself in a manhole, listening to a boy telling me his life’s story in a language I didn’t understand. The manhole was too small to fit our translator, so I “watched” him talk. Something magical happened and that night, I decided to help him turn his life around.

I never wanted children, my life was not set up for it, I was constantly on the road and it is the only way I know to make a living. I still don’t want children, but in Mongolia three children call me mom now and Baaskaa, the boy I met in the darkness of the city’s underground has become my son. (Emotionally, not legally) There is not an hour that I don’t think about him.

I call us the global happenstance family.

Unable to finance the work I do in Mongolia, I asked my friends to support me, which they generously did. Not only did I gain a family in Mongolia, I was also “taken in” here at home.

Mar. 04 2013 12:25 AM
myra goldberg from Morningside Heights

"We don't usually take each others' children in," said the social worker when I adopted my daughter in Texas twenty two years ago. She meant that I was white and Jewish and my daughter black and white and she kept me and my ex-husband for an additional week in Austin to try to fathom our motives and behaviour. When the birth certificate arrived, it had my ex-husband and my name on it, as if we were the birth parents and Caucausian for everyone's race, although my daughter was clearly not. Then at seventeen, Anna, who had no relatives that looked like her, became pregnant and decided to keep the baby. I was not surprised by her decision but I was surprised by how unwelcoming many members of my community were-- I am a writer and college professor-- and was not prepared to be dropped over something like this. "Get new friends, " said a neighbor with a similar situation. The father of the baby left, but a friend of my daughter's signed the birth certificate, which made the second false birth certificate in our family. It is tricky being a multi-generational family in a tiny apartment, but we have been happy, my grandchild is thriving, Anna is almost finished with college and I am writing a book about unconventional families and surprises in life called As It Turns Out.

Mar. 03 2013 07:03 PM
Paul Mazurowsky from Hastings-on-Hudson

Our family history includes this:
In industrial cities like Buffalo in the 1930s industrial accidents often took the lives of workers (safety regulations much less OSHA were decades of labor union struggle in the future). Officials or the police coming to fetch some kid home from the movie theater on Saturday because there had been an accident at the mill was common.
There was no safety net of "entitlements" to assist sudden single moms with no bread winner. Many despaired and hung themselves in the attic, calculating that that way at least their child(or children)would have a warm bed, a roof and meals at an orphanage.
That was the situation my mother and her four sisters' dear friend and neighbor, Stephie, was in after her father died at work. Although their father (my grandfather) had recently died of heart disease in his early 50s, they were distraught at the prospect of their friend going off to an orphanage. Although she head five teen daughters to raise, my grandmother said, "Oh well, whats a sixth at this point".
Thus years later we of the next generation all gained an aunt, an uncle, and three more cousins.

Mar. 02 2013 11:42 AM
Nick Bacon from Manhattan - Upper West Side

At the age of 47, I was reunited with my birth mother.

My Mom became pregnant in 1951, and her father and ultra religious step mother had her sent away from the family home in London, England to a Salvation Army "home for wayward girls" 150 miles away in Devon.

She gave birth, and, when I was 10 weeks old, was forced to give me up for adoption. She found out that my father had emigrated to Canada. She followed him there, married him, and had three more children.

In the early 1960s, the family moved to New York.

46 years later, she found me.

Having got to meet my birth family, I moved from the the UK to New York to be nearer to them and I now live 7 blocks from my birth mother (my Mom) in the same building as a sister that I never knew I had.

My Mom, by finding me, has saved my life twice.

I'm so pleased to part of the family that I never knew I had.

Mar. 01 2013 03:58 PM

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