Updated: May 3, 2021 4:38:25 pm
When we hear the word adoption, we think of it in regard with children. However, one Canadian couple is winning hearts online after they decided to adopt an elderly woman! Their moving gesture is now inspiring many others around the globe to do something similar.
Marike Finlay and her partner Karin Cope decided to leave Quebec and move to the Nova Scotia coast to enjoy their retirement life. When they did, they also asked their elderly friend, Elisabeth Bigras, who is 20-years senior to join them. While around the world assisted living and old-age homes are becoming the new order, Finlay and Cope’s beautiful alternative has struck a chord with many across social media sites.
Finlay and Cope, who worked as professors at McGill University, met the elderly woman, now 86, Bigras through the latter’s late husband. After her husband died, Bigras grew closer to the couple and often went on sailing trips with them. So, the decision to ask her to join them came naturally but the pair understood what their offer meant and didn’t take the decision lightly.
Talking to CBC Radio, Finlay said: “We knew that if we were inviting Elisabeth to come and retire here with us, that meant that we were committing to be with her throughout her old age.”
It’s been several years since the three women started living together sharing a house in West Quoddy, in Nova Scotia, and like any other family, they love doing things together while respecting each other’s space and privacy. They told the radio show that they initially split their finances 50/50, however, over the years adjusted in line with who has more money available.
Bigras, who was a psychiatrist, has no children and if the couple hadn’t adopted her, she would eventually end up in an assisted-living facility. While for Bigras, the joy of having a family has helped her wade through time, as she dubbed “old age is a lot about loss,” for Cope, Bigras is an elder from whom she seeks advice.
As the definition of family is rapidly changing, their initiative started a conversation about how elderly are often forgotten and left behind in later years. “Maybe it takes a village also to keep an elder, not just to raise a child,” Cope said.
Finlay and Cope told the media outlet that their own blood relatives don’t quite understand the life they’ve built with Bigras, but the local community has come to “an understanding very quickly that we are a family.”
As for Bigras, who now cooks seldom and is often in dismay over her loss of hearing and music, has found joy in photography. However, her knack for photography has also led to some frights when the three go for hikes, as they would sometimes find their elderly friend “sprawled on the ground”, worrying she’s dead. But to their relief, it usually turns out Bigras is just trying to get a perfect close-up shot of something she’s found on the ground!
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