Adoption Memoirs

Children, Elderly, Families, Hand, HeartI finished reading Detachment, An Adoption Memoir, by Maurice Mierau last night. Good book. I’ve read another adoption memoir, To Sing Frogs, by an American who adopts three children from eastern Russia. Both authors refer to the difficulties that orphans have attaching to their new families.  In the American book, the author John Simmons, calls it Reactive Attachment Disorder. Children are afraid to connect with loving parents because they can’t “handle the pain of the inevitable if [they] became too committed in the relationship.”   Mierau refers to it, too, after he goes to see a psychologist because of the older boy’s problems in school.  “ was common with kids who were adopted or in foster homes, and who’d experienced severe neglect or child abuse.”  

I found both books fascinating, but Mierau wins in the literary style department. The Simmons book was a re-telling of an international adoption. The Mierau book is a muse about life. It’s self-reflecting, egoistical even— not really focused on adoption or on the children—as much as on a man struggling to find his identity as a son, a husband, a father, and also as a writer. He doesn’t always present himself in the most favorable light. This takes courage and for that I admire him even when, at times, I disliked his actions. His poetic language and raw, unflinching honesty makes this book a compelling memoir. Here’s my favorite line:  “There was a certain slant of light on this summer afternoon that made me believe, for a moment, in the eternal.”   

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