In 2005, Maurice Mierau and his wife, Betsy, travelled to Ukraine to adopt two small boys, age three and five. After weeks of delays while navigating a tangled bureaucracy, they returned to Canada as a proud new family of four. Now what?
In Detachment, Mierau probes not only the process of adoption but what comes after—the challenges of becoming a family, the strain on his marriage. While his son acts out and gets in trouble at school, Mierau feels removed, detached, thinking instead about his own emotionally distant father. Also born in Ukraine, Mierau’s Mennonite father has a traumatic and mysterious past of his own. If Mierau can come to understand his father’s life, perhaps he can start to make sense of his new sons…
Detachment is a moving, darkly funny, and searingly unsentimental memoir about learning to become a father and a son.
“Detachment is a startling portrait of a real Modern Family—cobbled together across continents, haunted by old wars and buried trauma, held together by the stubborn human need for love and connection, for belonging. Maurice Mierau’s attempt to understand the people who made him what he is, while holding his own family together, is completely compelling: brutally honest, harrowing and compassionate.” — Michael Crummey, author of Galore