Madonna Fights Malawi to Adopt Mercy

Madonna and son David

The study found that African-American children are still disproportionately represented in foster care and remain less likely than children of other racial and ethnic groups to be adopted in a timely fashion. While black children accounted for 15 percent of America's child population, they represented 32 percent of the 510,000 children in foster care in 2006.

In many cases, black children, particularly older ones in foster care, are still viewed as "special-needs" children because they can be more difficult to place with parents, white or black.

As a result, some adoption agencies will subsidize the adoption costs, through state or other funding, to make transracial adoptions less expensive for prospective parents, according to Joan Jaeger, outreach and communications coordinator for the Cradle, an agency outside Chicago that specializes in transracial adoption. It can mean the difference between $13,000 for a black baby and $29,000 for a white one, Jaeger said.

More People Open to Adopting Transracially

White parents Martina Brockway and Mike Timble say the lower cost was only one factor in adopting their black son, Kayin, through the Cradle. Brockway, who taught English in exclusively black schools before becoming a stay-at-home mom when she became pregnant with their first child Rumeur, now 5, says she knew African-American babies had a greater need for homes. That meant they would also have to wait less time, in their case, nine months, to receive a baby.

"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.

Tom Cruise with son Connor, adopted with ex-wife Nicole Kidman

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.

Jackman and son Oscar

"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.

Jolie and Zahara Jolie-Pitt

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."

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