Kristine Freeark is a clinical psychologist with both intervention and research interests in adoptive family relationships and their impact on children's well-being. Although the large majority of adopted children adjust well, the predominant societal portrayal of adoption is wary, negative, and involving less than “real” family ties. Her longitudinal research, the Family Stories Project (done in collaboration with Kate Rosenblum), is focused on processes that buffer these effects from early to middle childhood, with a special interest in family-level and parent-level interactions that promote young children’s relationship security, emotional competence and behavioral regulation.
Dr. Freeark developed the Inquisitive Minds Workshop for adoptive parents of young children to translate developmental knowledge and an understanding of normative adoptive family dynamics into information and activities for parents. The workshop prepares parents to assist their children in communicating constructively about adoption to enhance family belonging and a positive adoptive identity. The workshop is offered in both 8 week and intensive weekend formats. There is also a Train the Trainers curriculum to permit dissemination to other communities. Research on the impact of the curriculum on parents’ perceptions of their child and their experience of parenting has been completed; analyses are currently underway.
Dr. Freeark’s other interests include:
- the translation of evidence-based findings relevant to the experience of adopted children and their families into psychoeducational materials and therapeutic interventions for families;
- dissemination of these findings and materials to the community of providers serving adoptive families;
- bringing a clinical perspective and questions from the field of adoption to the attention of research colleagues to enhance the relevance of basic research to addressing community needs.
Dr. Freeark has received funding for her work from the American Psychoanalytic Research Foundation, the Johann Jacobs Foundation, and the University of Michigan's Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR), Office of the Vice President for Research, and Arts of Citizenship program.
- Freeark, K., Rosenblum, K.L., Hus, V.H., & Root, B.L. (2008). Fathers, Mothers and Marriages: What Shapes Adoption Conversations in Families with Young Adopted Children? Adoption Quarterly, 11, 1-23.
- Freeark, K. (2006). Adoption and Youth: Creative, strengths-based programming to explore identity. In Freeark, K. and Davidson, W.S., III. (Eds.) The Crisis in Mental Health: Issues for Families, Schools and Communities. Volume 3.(pp. 121-146). New York: Praeger.
- Freeark, K., Rosenberg, E. B., Bornstein, J.Y., Jozefowicz, D., Linkevich, M. & Lohnes, K. (2005). Gender differences and dynamics shaping the adoption life cycle: Review of the literature and recommendations. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75, 86-101.