The first nighttime went so. much. smoother. than we had anticipated. Natalie made it quite clear that she would be sleeping with Kylie, but as soon as she saw we weren't going to fight her on that, she laid down and went to sleep rather quickly.
When morning came we wondered if she'd wake up with that "Oh, you guys again?" expression, but as soon as she caught sight of her siblings, she started calling to them and was happy as a lark. We showed her the dress that would coordinate with what her sisters were wearing and offered her the choice of wearing it or the clothes she came to us wearing. No hesitation at all, she wanted that navy blue dress!
After successfully navigating the breakfast buffet, it was time to head back to the civil affairs office to make her an official member of the family. She was sitting on my lap in the van and as soon as we pulled up at the office, I felt her little body begin to tense up. She stopped smiling and became rigid in my arms as we went upstairs and when we walked into the room, she began to whimper.
We tried all sorts of distractions, but she was clearly distraught. Thankfully it appeared that she was worried that she'd switch back. We were quickly called to have our photo taken for the adoption decree. The photographer, Amy, and Hannah all tried their best to coax a smile out of Natalie, but she was having no part of that.
Thankfully smiles aren't a requirement. Next was to the official where we confirmed with our interviewer that we were happy with Natalie and wanted to officially complete the adoption. After answering a series of questions, Ian and I stamped our right thumbprints over our signatures in red ink.
Then came Natalie's turn...with her entire right hand.
Not sure how she could have understood the significance of the moment, but it seemed that she did...
...and she flashed one of those sweet smiles.
Next stop the notary to seal the documents.
Then there were officially five...my heart overflows!
And then we were free to go. A newly formed family of seven...plus the traveling grandmas of course!
What to do to commemorate the occasion? A celebratory lunch of course!
Natalie enjoyed some local specialities (as did the rest of us) and then accepted a little lovin' from her big sisters.
Our spirits were so high that we didn't even mind a little drizzle on the walk back to the hotel.