Inquisitive Minds was begun in 1995 as Kristine Freeark recognized that groups and classes for adoptive parents typically addressed the parenting challenges only when their children got older. The earliest conversations, when the meaning of adoption could be most easily and positively shaped within the family, were overlooked. So she developed Inquisitive Minds, which has been offered ever since.
Dr. Freeark's own experiences as a therapist specializing in adoption, as a researcher studying communication within adoptive families, and as an adoptive mother have all taught her how much can be accomplished with children between 3 and 7. Families can build a foundation of open communication that makes future questions and challenges more manageable.
Why being able to talk with your child about adoption matters
Research shows that open communication about adoption:
- plays a critical role in positive outcomes for children
- equips children to feel confident telling their own life story
isn't accomplished as often as parents intend it to be
can be hindered by parents underestimating what their children comprehend and wonder about
Ongoing Discussion Groups are open to parents who have taken the workshop, providing them with an opportunity to stay connected and continue learning in a supportive context as their children grow.
Research on the workshop
Inquisitive Minds has been part of the Strengths-based Adoptive Family Initiative at the University of Michigan exploring the varied ways that adoptive families create a sense of belonging. This work has investigated how early family communication about adoption helps children years later.
Research on the workshop has shown that parents come away feeling more knowledgeable and better prepared to address their child's experience of adoption. They perceive their child more positively months later, recognizing their emotional strength and connection to family. The workshop also impacts their understanding of the unique tasks connected to being an adoptive parent.