After decades of considering themselves mother and daughter, a 92-year-old woman has officially adopted her 76-year-old child.

Years ago, Muriel Clayton took in her cousin Mary Smith when the then 11-year-old's father passed away and her mother could no longer care for her. For the majority of her life, Smith has viewed Clayton as her mother.

mother daughter adoption
YouTube | The Dallas Morning News

But on Tuesday, June 9, a judge made their close-knit bond legal. “I have a big picture of my life [like] a jigsaw puzzle, but I needed one more piece to make it complete and [Mary] is it," Clayton said of her longstanding desire to adopt Smith.

"She's just the best thing that ever was, the best mother… and the sweetest thing," Smith told The Dallas Morning News.

mother daughter adoption
YouTube | The Dallas Morning News

According to the local newspaper, Clayton wanted to wait until Smith's biological mother passed away to legalize the adoption. “I would not ask her mother for an adoption because she hoped in her heart that she would get well enough to take care of Mary," Clayton said.