On the island of Shamian in Guangzhou, a 5 years old American girl adopted a few years ago in China has come back to Guangzhou as her parents are adopting another baby. She is quietly sitting on the couch of the White Swan Hotel as their parents are having their picture taken with her new sibling.
The island of Shamian where numbers of foreign consulates have historically been located, is a hub for adopting parents in China. They spend their first days with their adopted child on the island, going through the last administrative steps before heading back to their home country. They usually stay at the White Swan Hotel.
On display at a souvenir shop of Shamian island, a stone carving representing parents with their adopted child. The influx of adopting parents on the island has attracted number of small businesses catering for the needs of these foreign visitors. Stone carving is a popular souvenir among them.
On Shamian Island in Guangzhou, an adopted child near a sculpture representing school children.
On the bus taking them back to the White Swan Hotel from the U.S. Consulate, Peggy is taking in her arms Bridget her newly adopted daughter. Peggy decided to adopt rather than go for a risky pregnancy at 45 years old.
Carmen, the spanish mother of two adopted girls has come to pray in the French catholic church of Shamian island. Many of the adopting parents are Christians and religion plays a part for many of them in the decision to adopt.
On a street of Shamian island, 7 years old Emmalee with her adoptive parents Marvin and April. Emmallee is suffering from Phocomelia a genetic disease causing legs atrophy. Emmalee is the 6th child adopted by Marvin and April. All suffering from disabilities. They also have three biologic children. Emmallee's adoption cost them $24,000. They didn't visit Emmallee's orphanage which would have cost them an extra $300. "Everything is about money" says April.
Lisa and Ralph Brown are having lunch with Alison their second adopted daughter. It is their second day together.
At Shamian island medical centre, 2 years old Tate crying in the arms of her adopted father, Nate. Tate traumatised by the anti-tuberculosis vaccine she got the day before, has come back for a health check. Nate with his wife Tommy are from Minnesota and Tate is their third child and their first adopted one.
Next to the interior waterfall of the White Swan Hotel, Debby is holding her 11 months old adopted son Nicolas.
China has gradually put restrictions on adoption by foreign citizens, excluding overweight individuals, single parents, heightening the minimum household income and slowing down the administrative approval process. As a result the number of adoption in China has sharply decreased and includes a higher number of children with disabilities who are seldom adopted by Chinese citizens.
At the White Swan Hotel, Jane holding her adopted daughter Sara.
Three adopted kids heave their picture taken on a couch of the White Swan Hotel.
After the official ceremony at the US Consulate, parents set up their adopted children in the lounge of the White Swan hotel for the traditional group photo.
In a tourist store of Shamian Island, Terri is showing a pair of sleepers to 9 years old Maylinn. Maylinn busy with her video game and with no knowledge of English, doesn't answer. Maylinn has just been adopted by Chad and Terri, she is their second adopted and third child. Children are rarely adopted at such a late age, the integration in the adoptive family, and country, and the language problem make the process difficult.
5 years old Anna Lei (right) Anna lei with 9 years old Maylinn (left) playing together in a tourist shop of Shamian island. A week before they didn' know each others. They are now sisters as both of them have been adopted by Chad and Terri from Indiana. Annalei the youngest one, was adopted 4 years before and made the trip to China with her parents to get Maylinn who doesn't speak English yet.
In an elevator of the White Swan Hotel, Dylan (right) with his newly adopted sister Maylinn, and their mother Terri.
Maylinn at the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou after the oath ceremony that made her a citizen of the United States, a country where she is going to set foot for the first time in 36 hours.
In their hotel room of the White Swan Hotel, Terri is playing with her 9 years old newly adopted daughter. Maylin doesn't speak English yet and is a little concerned about leaving for the United States a country of which she knows nothing. With them, drinking Coke, stands Annalei, adopted four years ago in China at a much younger age than her sister. She never spoke Chinese.
At the White Swan Hotel, it's time to leave and head back to the U.S.. For Maylin (left) it will be her first time leaving China he native country and setting foot in her adopted homeland with her new family.
In the bus taking them to the US Consulate with other adopting families, Stephanie is holding sleeping Chu Ba in her arms.
On the banks of the Pearl River on the islands of Shamian, locals are practicing Tai-Chi.