Get attached to new memoir
Father of adopted sons shares experience in book
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/09/2014 (2899 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Maurice Mierau wrote about the magical and difficult process of adoption in his new book, Detachment: An Adoption Memoir.
Mierau, a 52-year-old Wolseley resident, said the book is a real-life account of he and his wife Betsy Troutt’s decision to adopt their two sons, Peter and Bohdan, from Ukraine. Mierau also wrote about his father’s rough childhood and how that affected Mierau as a father.
“The book begins with me in a state of crisis in 2009 talking to a psychologist,” Mierau said. “I’m trying to work out how I can do better with my sons and be a more successful father and husband.”
The book then flashes back to the year 2005 when Mierau adopted biological brothers Peter and Bohdan, who were five and three years old, respectively, at the time. Peter and Bohdan, now 14 and 12, were abandoned by their mother in Ukraine. They were in separate orphanages because of their age difference.
“Almost right away, we meet our sons and we go through the very bureaucratic, complicated process,” Mierau said. “The book also flashes back to my father’s childhood in Soviet Ukraine. He fled with the German army in 1943 and had a very difficult, traumatic childhood. He was an orphan by the age of 10, so of course there’s many analogies in the book between my father’s experience and my sons’ (experience).”
Mierau said the title of the book, Detachment, refers to a psychological problem that many adopted children experience called attachment disorder. According to the Adoption Ontario website (adoptionontario.ca), attachment disorder is a condition that happens in “infancy and early childhood when there is a failure to form healthy bonds with parents or primary caregivers.”
“My oldest son, Peter, was five when we adopted him. He (and his brother) had been abandoned by (their) mother, so Peter had difficulty bonding with us, attaching to us,” Mierau said.
Mierau said the first year with the boys had been fantastic, calling it a “honeymoon period.”
“We didn’t have a diagnosis until we started to notice all kinds of things wrong: he tried to run away from home, he stole things, he got into other kids’ food at school, he wandered around in the classroom,” Mierau listed. “We took him to a psychologist and that’s when we found out he had attachment disorder.”
Bohdan did not have attachment disorder because he was still young when he was adopted, but Mierau said he does have a lot of questions — some of which Mierau was able to answer through hiring an investigator.
“It was easy for (the investigator) to find different members of their birth family, although, unfortunately, not the boys’ birth mother,” Mierau said. “We’ve had indirect contact with the boys’ maternal aunt, and we expect to go back (to Ukraine) in a couple of years and we hope to see as many birth relatives as we can.”
Detachment: An Adoption Memoir is on sale at McNally Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Ave.) and various Chapters locations.