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.
JOSEPH S. MATTINA
Erie County Surrogate Judge