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Inside China: Chinese Takeaways

From Anton Antonowicz In Guangzhou,
China 9/08/2005

Day 1 .. the American child adoption factory

BREAKFAST ends at the White Swan Hotel and it is time for a group photograph. There are 21 adults, all beaming. And 11 baby girls, all Chinese.

Instant families courtesy of the White Swan Express.

From the outside this place looks like any other swanky, five-star, business stopover. Yet inside, you hear babies cry. Scores of babies. Nearly all girls.

And the voices of their new parents, all American.

More than 4,000 orphans are adopted here each year. Since this astonishing trade in human Chinese takeaways began 10 years ago, more than 50,000 kids have left here for a new life in the United States. Instant Americans.

There is no disguising Matt and Shari Neiberg's unadulterated joy. The couple, both physiotherapists from Peoria, Arizona, have just picked up their new daughter.

She is 10 months old and her name is Yang Mei Jai. At least it was.

"She's Kiana now," says Shari, 36. "We've paid the money and she's part of our 'forever family'."

As she tends the baby, Matt, 35, dandles their three-year-old on his knee. "She was Mao Huan Xia. Now she's Jaida," he says. "And she's suddenly got a little sister.

"We were trying for kids of our own, but the doctors said that Shari may have needed surgery to conceive. So, it's a no-brainer.

"We heard about the White Swan's revolving door and came right over. First for Jaida when she was 10 months and now this little kitten. Cute, ain't she?"

Indeed she is. Like all kids. Except she comes with a price tag - $21,025 (£11,800), the cost of taking a baby back to the States.

"It's a little cheaper and easier to adopt if the baby is a special- needs child," Matt adds. "But we decided to go for regular ones." ....

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