Family Helper > Site background


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Family Helper contents are copyright Robin R. Hilborn. But we do believe in freely exchanging information and almost always grant reprint requests. Make your request to helper@familyhelper.net. The proper credit line is "From Family Helper, www.familyhelper.net".

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DISCLAIMER
We mention clinics, agencies, products and services only to help our readers; we do not endorse them. We try to provide accurate information, on the understanding that we are not rendering a professional service. Any suggestions we give are not a substitute for expert advice. Please consult a doctor, lawyer or other professional before embarking on a course of action. Before hiring someone, you should ask for details, cost breakdowns and references -- and check the references. Our contributors' opinions are their own.


Background on Family Helper web site

By Robin Hilborn

What is Family Helper?

Family Helper web site aims to give you accurate and useful information about infertility, how to adopt, post-adoption and search and reunion. Our motto is "No fancy graphics, just solid information" -- to help you start a family, build a family or find those missing family members.

Family Helper web site is produced by Robin Hilborn, working in his home office, where he also turns out Family Helper, the print magazine, which incorporates Adoption Helper and Post-adoption Helper magazines. Reach Robin by emailing helper@familyhelper.net or by writing to Box 1203, Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada.

We are independent of any organization or support group. We are not an adoption agency nor do we help people adopt, except by providing information.

We invite you to contribute your news, events and information, or send your URL so we can link up -- no charge.

Working behind the scenes

Robin Hilborn (helper@familyhelper.net) [1990 to present] -- webmaster, publisher and organizer. Editor of Family Helper magazine. Site designer of Family Helper web site. Also hard at work as Content Specialist for the Adoption Council of Canada, www.adoption.ca (See his biography.)
Katherin Jones [1990 to 1996] -- Founder, with Robin Hilborn, of Adoption Helper magazine in 1990. Editor of Adoption Helper, No. 1 to No. 21. A public school teacher, she lives in Toronto with sons David (b. 1989, Peru), and Cristopher (b. 1996, Guatemala).
David Jones -- Born in Peru in 1989 and growing up in Toronto. Inspiration for parents Katherin Jones and Robin Hilborn.
Deborah Tennant [1995 to 1996] -- Editor of Infertility Helper magazine, no. 1 to no. 6.
Philip Whitcombe [1996] -- Did the original three graphic images.
Jennifer Smart [1997 to 2001] -- Occupational therapist, co-founder of the Canadopt support group in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. and parent of two adopted children. First editor of Post-adoption Helper, no. 1 to no. 9.

Description of Family Helper web site

Born in April 1996, Family Helper web site, www.familyhelper.net, unites information on infertility, how to adopt, post-adoption and adoption search and reunion. Family Helper is the creation of Robin Hilborn, who is also publisher and editor of Family Helper magazine.

Family Helper web site has four sections plus one resource area, Adoption Resource Central. Two files are updated constantly: "Coming Events in Adoption", the list of adoption-related events across Canada and the U.S., and "News Briefs", enabling the adoption community to stay abreast of developments in adoption news, legislation and issues.

The Infertility section helps people who have trouble having children. It includes:
-- Directory of infertility newsletters in Canada and the U.S.
-- Guide to infertility web sites
-- Directory of infertility support groups in Canada
-- Directory of fertility clinics in Canada

The Adoption section helps people adopt domestically and internationally. This is where you can decide how and where to adopt, choose an agency and find a support group. It includes:
-- Summaries of Adoption Helper magazine (now Family Helper)
-- Directory of adoption newsletters in Canada
-- Directory of adoption newsletters in the U.S.
-- Adoption web sites
-- Why you should join a support group
-- Directory of adoption support groups in Canada, with descriptions
-- Private agencies in Canada
-- Selected U.S. agencies
-- Provincial adoption coordinators
-- Teacher's Guide to Adoption -- Research on adoption in Canada

The Post-adoption section offers support for parents when they really need it, after the adoption. It covers: medical issues; developmental concerns; behaviour management; family and society; culture and heritage; news from homeland countries; and community resources. It includes summaries of back issues of Post-adoption Helper magazine.

The family research section, called Family Tree, has two aspects: searching for birthparents or adult adoptees (adoption search and reunion), and searching for ancestors (genealogy). Here you can find:
-- Online adoption reunion magazines
-- Directory of adoption reunion newsletters
-- Web sites for adoption search and reunion
-- Directory of reunion support groups in Canada
-- Directory of reunion registries and search agencies
-- Online genealogy resources
-- Hilborn family research

Adoption Resource Central has 28 topics and thousands of resources. Click a topic, read a summary of that topic, and see the best web sites, articles, books, videos, newsletters and support groups. Find resources on domestic and international adoption, dealing with special needs children, and raising adopted children.

Heart of Adoption houses many "articles to inform and inspire" on both adoption and post-adoption topics.

A note on financing: We have no sponsors, and no-one pays us to operate Family Helper web site. We manage to cover operating costs using advertising revenue. We have no contact with the companies whose ads appear here; they do not influence the content.

Tell me some history

By Robin Hilborn

It all started with David, whom Katherin Jones adopted as a single mother in 1989. She brought him home from Peru to Toronto and in no time at all I became his father. Back then there was no good information about adoption for Canadians, so Katherin and I tried to fill the void by founding Adoption Helper magazine in September 1990. "Our magazine was born of necessity," Katherin said. "We started it because there just wasn't any comprehensive adoption information available." She edited Adoption Helper up to July 1996 and then I took over the reins, acting as both editor and publisher. (Adoption Helper is now called Family Helper.)

ADOPTION HELPER MAGAZINE

Adoption Helper started in September 1990 as a magazine, with articles on many subjects in domestic and international adoption, including first person experiences of Canadians who adopted in Canada and abroad. I changed the format in 1998 so that it became a mini-book -- each issue on a single topic, such as "Adopting from China", and "Health Issues in Intercountry Adoption". The latter was used by the Ontario ministry's Adoption Unit in Toronto in its seminars for social workers and agencies.

"All About Domestic Adoption" covers both domestic public and domestic private adoption. International adoption is covered by "Canadian Guide to Intercountry Adoption".

In 1995 Adoption Helper received an Ontario Adoption Award from the Adoption Council of Ontario, "in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the adoption community of Ontario."

POST-ADOPTION HELPER MAGAZINE

Over the years Adoption Helper helped many Canadian adoption dreams come true, and by 1997 it became clear that it was time for a magazine dedicated to the joys -- and challenges -- of the time after the adoption: Post-adoption Helper.

However, with my hands full editing Adoption Helper, I knew I couldn't edit a second magazine. I needed an editor, someone experienced in adoption, certainly, but more than that: a crusader for better post-adoption support. That person was Jennifer Smart, occupational therapist with pediatric experience, parent of two adopted children, co-founder of Sault Ste. Marie's adoption support group, and tireless advocate for adoption causes -- she fought for reform of discriminatory UIC rules. For her work she won an Ontario Adoption Award from the Adoption Council of Ontario in November 1997.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Post-adoption Helper followed the same road as its older sister, starting in June 1997 in a magazine format, then shifting to single topic editions, starting with "Adoptive Parents' Guide to Your Child in Primary School" in December 1998. Each magazine had a circulation of about 400, in Canada and the U.S., and appeared quarterly.

Jennifer covered many of the key issues of concern to parents of children adopted domestically and internationally ... fetal alcohol syndrome, attachment disorder, attention deficit disorder. She also wrote excellent guides to raising your adopted child. She resigned in May 2001 and I took over as editor of Post-adoption Helper.

You can read excerpts from the following at Family Helper web site:
Guide to Infants and Toddlers
Guide to Your Preschool Child
Guide to Your Child in Primary School
Guide to the Special Needs Child
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Helping The Adopted Child with FAS

FAMILY HELPER MAGAZINE

In July 2003 I launched Family Helper magazine, a quarterly incorporating both Adoption Helper and Post-adoption Helper. The first title was "Conference 2002: The best from Toronto ". Further titles are shown at Family Helper.

FAMILY HELPER WEB SITE

Family Helper web site didn't actually start as a web site. In 1994 I began contributing adoption information to Toronto Free-Net, one of the free text-only information services in the Free-Net network. At the launch of TFN on Nov. 3, 1994, Adoption Helper became the first online adoption magazine [see Adoption Helper No. 14, October 1994, p. 8]. The adoption area on TFN, from November 1994 to April 1996, held about 1 MB of information in 51 files.

I began sketching a possible web site design on July 27, 1995. I taught myself HTML and launched Family Helper web site in April 1996 with the sections Infertility, Adoption and Family Tree. I added Post-adoption on Feb. 17, 1997. To track the number of visitors, counters were added to some pages on Nov. 19, 1996 and were restarted on May 18, 1998.

In September 1995 I launched Infertility Helper magazine, with Deborah Tennant as editor. It was not successful and ceased publication after six print editions, ending with the December 1996 issue.

In May 1998 I moved from Toronto to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Counters were started on July 11, 1999.

On Nov. 1, 1999 I moved to Southampton, Ont. Counters were started again on Nov. 12, 1999.

To see if funds could be found to help support Family Helper web site, in July 2003 I added revenue-generating ads at the bottom of some pages. I also added the Google search engine to a number of pages. This helps users find anything on the site quickly.

On Dec. 21, 2003 I opened the Adoption Resource Central section of the site, with one index page and 28 topic pages containing descriptions and resources.

On May 4, 2004 I opened the Heart of Adoption section, which houses many "articles to inform and inspire" on both adoption and post-adoption topics.

From Feb. 9-28, 2005 my "Teacher's Guide to Adoption" was featured at the home page of "Adoption", at About.Com, See Adoption Blog, adoption.about.com/b/a/2005_02_09.htm.

Starting in November 2006 I volunteered for the committee planning the 150th Anniversary Celebrations of Southampton in 2008. Family Helper hosted at no charge the interior pages of the web site (and continues to do so). I posted 150th anniversary pages from Feb. 13, 2007 through to Dec. 5, 2008. See, for example, 150th Events.

I decided to upgrade the design of the web site by using the improvement on HTML called CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and by standardizing the names and mottos of each of the four main sections.

Given my success in learning HTML in 1995, I tackled CSS in autumn 2008. My reference work of choice was CSS: the Missing Manual, by David Sawyer McFarland. I converted pages to CSS in stages: Fertility Helper home page and news pages on Nov. 25, 2008; Adoption Helper home page on Dec. 19, 2008; Family Helper home page on Mar. 12, 2009.

Counters were (unfortunately) started again on May 5, 2009, because our ISP (BMTS) changed servers. Counters on all pages started at zero on May 5. Most counters now read "visits since May 5, 2009" but occasionally an old date may appear which has not yet been corrected. Changing code meant that I had to reload all pages, on May 12, 2009.

On July 5, 2012 I finished converting Post-adoption Helper to CSS, totalling revising the contents. I divided "Teacher's Guide to Adoption" into ten pages, and created 19 pages under the title "Parent's Guide to Adoption", for those with school-age children.

On Dec. 1, 2012 I determined that it was time to pull back from my involvement in the adoption field, which had always been voluntary. I will keep the Family Helper web site open, still at http://www.familyhelper.net, for the archival value of the information there. However I won't be updating the news pages. The site now represents the state of affairs at the start of 2012. Researchers into the history of adoption will find good coverage for the period 2000-2012. Much good information still resides in Adoption Resource Central and Heart of Adoption. I am now on an extended sabbatical, writing a local history book which is a follow-up to Southampton Vignettes.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

To order back issues, contact Robin Hilborn for an order form, or go to:
Adoption Helper and Family Helper ... www.familyhelper.net/ad/ahsub.html
Post-adoption Helper ... www.familyhelper.net/pa/phsub.html

Reach Robin by email to helper@familyhelper.net, or by letter to Box 1203, Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0.

Robin's photo at www.familyhelper.net/ref/rrh.html shows how he looked in 1986.

All four magazines -- Adoption Helper (40 editions), Family Helper (9 editions), Infertility Helper (6 editions) and Post-adoption Helper (13 editions) -- are archived at the National Library, Ottawa.

Awards

1995 -- Adoption Helper magazine received an Ontario Adoption Award from the Adoption Council of Ontario, "in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the adoption community of Ontario."
1997 -- Jennifer Smart, editor of Post-adoption Helper, received an Ontario Adoption Award from the Adoption Council of Ontario for her work on behalf of adoption causes.
2001 -- Robin Hilborn, editor of Adoption Helper, received an Adoption Activist Award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children for "dedicated work in making adoption information more accessible and providing materials for post-adoptive support".

"You can put your web page here"

Family Helper web site used to host infertility- and adoption-related web pages for agencies and support groups. There were fees for agencies, and free pages for support groups. For historical reference, here is the old offer of Web Page Service for agencies, last updated Apr. 21, 2004. These support groups had chosen to place their web pages here:
Families in Adoption
Infertility Network

Infertility Adoption Adoption Resource Central Post-adoption Family Tree
Contact: Robin Hilborn, helper@familyhelper.net
Box 1203, Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada
Copyright 2014 Robin Hilborn. All rights reserved
Updated   Dec. 18, 2013






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