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I read the Oct. 1 News article regarding the gratuitous use of the term "adopted children" to identify the children of certain celebrities. I have had the opportunity and the privilege of presiding over approximately 10,000 adoptions these past 20 years that I have been the surrogate of Erie County. I join with those who feel that such a designation should be eliminated from news stories concerning these children, and I do so for a variety of reasons.

First and foremost, those children are legally and morally the children of these people; there is absolutely no distinction in the law between a child who has been "adopted" or "born." Second, I have been a part of many discussions and seminars concerning adoptions. The children who are adopted find this constant reminder demeaning to their legal and moral status within the family.

I must admit it was very irritating to me that the term was used repeatedly in stories about Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Ronald Reagan. In my own way, when I see the term used in a petition for probate or administration of an estate, I very discreetly call the attorney and advise him or her that I don't believe such a designation is either legally or morally proper.

I would only hope that the various editors of newspapers, including the Associated Press and other media groups, take this to heart and make the necessary changes.


Erie County Surrogate Judge


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