Here's my response to: Why Do Adopted Kids Go Back to Birth Families?
1. The biggest is that they want to negate the rejection/ abandonment. They don't want to believe that the family didn't want them, because that means the child is unworthy and unlovable. Going back "proves" that their family really loves them.
2. Extreme denial. My kids can dissociate from reality, and distort it to the extent that they rewrite history, and BELIEVE the new version. They don't remember, or want to remember, the real past - good, bad and everything in between.
3. My children have very black and white thinking. People are either evil or on a pedestal. The kids literally don't see the shades of grey that describes all humanity. Most people are wonderful, caring, supportive, relationship possibilities (best friend, girlfriend, new mom..)... until Bear or Kitty flips a switch and ALL they can see is the person's flaws. My son is especially bad about this. He goes through girls like Kleenex, discarding them when they show the tiniest sign of imperfection (I believe my son thinks that love means they are instantly and totally devoted to him, anything less and he's afraid they will abandon him, so at the first sign of independence, he rejects them before they reject him) or they get too close (and he runs before they can see his flaws and reject him).
The kids have idealized many members of biofamily, and literally don't remember any of their flaws. When Bear went to live with his bio Grandpa, real life quickly took over, BioGrandpa became human (worse, a human who had some authority over Bear), and Bear couldn't accept that. In less than 6 weeks, he was ready to move on.
4. Escape. "My adoptive parents and everyone else are the reason things aren't going right. If I can get away from them then my life will be perfect." Hubby and I tell our kids that they have to work on their issues instead of running away from them, because the issues are inside of them, and will follow them everywhere. They don't want to believe us.
Obviously these characteristics are all linked to each other.
5. One thing I firmly believe is one should never criticize bio family to the children, something I learned from my mother, who never criticized my father in front of me, despite a nasty divorce. Knowing my children are idealizing their bio family doesn't change my belief, but it is a little frustrating to know that my lack of reality checks makes some of their fantasies possible.
I think they want to go back to biofamily to live the fairy tale/ fantasy they have used to escape over the years. That little Orphan Annie reality (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbnexDFN7KI) that my "real family" is perfect, rich, will never make me do chores or be held accountable for anything I do (not that I'll do anything wrong, because it was everyone else's fault)...
We have to let them go.
It's hard, but I think we have to let our kids know that we understand this desire to reconnect with birthfamily, and let them go. I tried to make it very clear to my children that the door was always open... as long as they understood that the house rules haven't changed.
When the reality sinks in, a lot of these kids will come home.
Unfortunately they usually come home with the results of living this other life style:
pregnancy, drug addiction, off their meds, criminal records, health issues... feeling entitled to the freedoms they enjoyed (and suffered from).
For some children the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence - no matter which side of the fence they are on. We ran in to this with Kitty. Her perception of reality means the instant she walked away her memory of the other place become even more black and white. She instantly forgot all the good stuff (or bad stuff). When she lived here at home, she longed for the "freedom" of having no rules and structure - being treated like an "adult," without the responsibilities and accountability of actually being one. When she was living with biofamily, she longed for the calm, supportive, loving environment (and the luxuries) of home.
Your decision is whether or not to let your child come back home - knowing they will bring this new baggage and possibly see your home as a revolving door or a way station.
We let our children know that very little has changed. They are expected to come home to mostly the same structure as when they left. If they can't follow the rules, then they will not come home. For our son in prison, he will need to go to a halfway house and get stable on his meds before we would even consider allowing him to come home.
It's not easy watching our children self-destruct, but I have to hope that when they get older and their brain is fully developed (about 25 years old?), that they will be happy, functioning citizens capable of healthy relationships with as few permanent scars as possible.
NOTE: When our kids approach times of transition (graduation, turning 18, moving out...) they tend to stress out and act out. This is a defense mechanism to distance themselves from us to try to make it hurt less. I try to remind myself of this, when mine are lashing out at me.
More on Contact with Birth Family.