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Family & Relationships Adoption & Fostering


An Adoption Memoir

by (author) Maurice Mierau

Freehand Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2014
Adoption & Fostering, Personal Memoirs, Literary
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price

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Winner of the Kobzar Award

Winner of the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award

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?

Does fatherhood begin the moment that the adoption papers are signed” Is family something that is created in an instant” And what happens when everything seems to be on the verge of falling apart?

In Detachment, Maurice 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, Maurice feels removed, detached, thinking instead about his own emotionally distant father. Also born in Ukraine, Maurice's father has a traumatic and mysterious past of his own. If Maurice 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.

About the author

Born in Indiana, Maurice Mierau grew up in Nigeria, Manitoba, Jamaica, Kansas, and Saskatchewan, and now lives in Winnipeg. You can watch a video trailer for Detachment: An Adoption Memoir (Freehand Books) here: Maurice is also the author of several books of poetry, including Fear Not, which won the ReLit Award in 2009, and his first collection, Ending With Music (Brick Books, 2002).

Maurice Mierau's profile page


  • Winner, Kobzar Literary Award
  • Winner, Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction
  • Winner, Alberta Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year

Editorial Reviews

"It's a book that doesn't sugarcoat the challenges of building a family across borders, with children who acutely remember what it's like to have been abandoned. It also lays bare the sometimes-unanticipated impact on marital relationships, on a person's confidence in themselves as a parent." — National Post

"Detachment: An Adoption Memoir is a frank, tense and fully engaging story of the processes and consequences of adoption. And it's more than this." — Winnipeg Free Press

"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

"With wry honesty, Maurice Mierau surprises the reader again and again with the failure, the vulnerability, the surprise, and the tenderness of relationships. For all its coolly detached tone, this story has incredible heart. And the children. Oh, the children." — David Bergen, author of The Age of Hope

"In the first half of Detachment, Maurice Mierau tells a fascinating story of working through the byzantine beaurocracy of the adoption industry to bring two boys home from Ukraine. In the second half, he recounts the hardest part of the journey, learning the emotional language of being a dad. Maurice Mierau is a smart and unsentimental storyteller, and I loved this book." — Joan Thomas, author of Reading by Lightning

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