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Forget black U.S. oprhans -- African kids are in this season

| Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006

Pop singer Madonna went shopping last week, which isn't exactly breaking news. The item the Material Girl brought back from her latest international buying spree, however, made news throughout the entire country.

Madonna, you see, went to the African country of Malawi and brought back home an exotic baby.

Although known for her originality, Madonna can't claim to have started this latest fashion trend for the rich and shameless. Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been setting the tabloids afire with their baby-buying excursions into the Third World, so it must have been tough for Madonna to watch from the sidelines empty-handed.

I use the term baby-buying due to the exorbitant fees charged to Americans by foreign adoption agencies.

According to adoption.com, China has been the place from which Americans have adopted the most children, at a cost somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 each. The adoption process can take as long as 18 months for foreign-born children, more then 20,000 of which are brought to American homes each year.

Meanwhile, back in the less exotic U.S., thousands of black children are awaiting adoption. Many of them, the Christian Science Monitor reports, are available immediately. But black kids still remain unpopular with American families for some reason.

Currently, there's 200 families in line for white infants which cost around $40,000 each to adopt.

A black kid• Yours for just $10,000 to $12,000 in most states.

This whole disturbing trend bears a creepy resemblance to the oft-changing popularity of exotic pedigreed dogs. One year, it's Labradors, the next year, its Chihuahuas. By the time we head off to the pet store for one of those, somebody goes and changes up on us, and we're struggling to stay hip by buying an Akita or an Irish Wolf Hound.

Madonna has caught some flak in the British press for her boutique adoption, and for good reason. Because of the spread of AIDS in Africa, there are roughly 43 million orphans on the continent.

Spending some of her fortune on AIDS medications or sexual education programs might have gone a lot farther to alleviate Africa's pain than the show-adoption of one poor village kid.

But we're not talking about saving the human race when it comes to exotic adoption.

Just saving ourselves from looking unhip.

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