92-year-old woman adopts her 76-year-old cousin to formalize their loving relationship

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DALLAS (June 10, 2015) – A 92-year-old Dallas woman adopted her 76-year-old cousin to formalize their loving relationship for the past 65 years.

On Tuesday, June 9, a judge at the Dallas County Court approved Muriel Clayton’s adoption of Mary Smith. Clayton raised Smith since childhood, following the death of Smith’s father in 1950. Smith’s mother was unable to care for her due to mental illness.

Clayton told TODAY.com, “I have been her mother ever since she was 13 or 14 years old. She always fit in beautifully. She was always my child and everybody knew that. We even look quite a bit alike.”

Muriel Clayton and Mary Smith on adoption day.

Muriel Clayton and Mary Smith on adoption day.

Clayton told WFAA she had thought about adopting Smith since taking her in, but that she never asked her about it.

Finally, Clayton brought it up to Smith the day before Mother’s Day. “I said, ‘I have been thinking about adopting you, what do you think about that?’ And her little face just lit up!” Clayton recalled.

“I have worked jigsaw puzzles, and my life had been a beautiful picture. But one piece was missing, and that was Mary,” said Clayton. “And now I’ve got that piece in place. Officially!”