At that time, my Sis immediately changed both her name AND my Niece's last name to that of Bro-in-Law's. (Did you know that anyone can just up and change their name, at any time??? Weird.)
Yet it wasn't really official. Until yesterday. When my Bro-in-Law officially adopted my Niece.
In my Sis's words:
"It was great today. We went into the judges courtroom while he divorced someone then we got invited back to chambers with the adoption specialist. The judge was totally psyched to be doing an adoption; he said that is the nicest thing they do and it doesn't happen too often.
So he made a big deal about talking to [Niece] and asking her questions about what it meant to be adopted (and picture this in [Niece's] shy quiet high pitched voice), "Well it means that I'm going to be part of [Bro-in-Law's] family forever and he is going to be part of mine." The judge signed the paper with a big quill and gave her a certificate that they both signed.
He asked her how we were going to celebrate the rest of the day and she said (in her annoyed pre-teen voice complete with kindergarten stare), "My parents are making me go back to school." (We are going out to supper tonight to celebrate.)
When we were leaving the courthouse I turned to [Bro-in-Law] and kissed him and he turned to [Niece] and kissed her. That was the best part."
The Happy Family