"We just kind of felt that we were equipped and in the mind-set that we could do this," Brockway said. "We can't be black ourselves, but we can do everything possible to have this multicultural and diverse life."
With a more visible multicultural America, including a biracial president in the White House, more parents, including celebrities, appear to be open to adopting transracially.
Jolie and Madonna may be two of the most visible white celebrities to have adopted black children, but before them, Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, and Tom Cruise and then wife Nicole Kidman, adopted black boys.
Hugh Jackman recently spoke with ABC News' Barbara Walters about his decision to adopt mixed-race children, including son Oscar, who he has said is African-American, white, Hawaiian and Cherokee.
"It was like, where's the need?" he told Walters. "The need was obviously mixed-race children. And that was it."
Today, adoptions from African countries, particularly Ethiopia, are taking off in much the same way that adopting from China was once popular.
"I think you could draw a straight line from Angelina Jolie's adoption to the increase in Ethiopian adoptions," Jaeger said.
Mary-Louise Parker adopted her daughter Caroline "Ash" Aberash from Africa, although she has not publicy identified the country.
"I can't adopt 500 children, but I did adopt this one beautiful little girl, and it was an amazing thing," she told an audience during a Q&A with a journalist from the New Yorker. "Especially after having been to a Third World country, and having seen the desperation there, and the need, and all the children, and holding those children and seeing them and touching them."
Not everyone is happy to see celebrities traveling abroad to adopt a black child. "I don't want to say they shouldn't," adoptive parent Brockway said. "Children everywhere need a home, but we do have a large number of children who are in foster care, and a lot of them are African-Americans."
Child advocacy group Save the Children recently criticized Madonna for adopting from a Malawi orphanage out of concern that her actions would encourage other poor parents to abandon their children in hopes that they would be adopted.
Actress Joely Fisher considered adopting an African baby when she traveled to Mozambique in July for the charity, but changed her mind. "Once I was there, I felt the people I met wanted me to help them sustain their lives in their own country," she told People magazine.
So when she returned home, she began the process of a private adoption and ultimately adopted a black girl, Olivia Luna.
She told the magazine she is unfazed by her daughter's different race. "I had no preference; I felt we belonged together," she said.
Pertman of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute believes every child, no matter from what country, deserves a home. "We should not be pitting children against each other," he said. "And where do we get off telling people how they should form their families? The question should be how do we set up policies and practices that enable all of these children to get homes?"