I'm so glad you clicked over. I aimed to make my blog a clearinghouse for all information and community building that is adoption/infertility/loss (ALI) related. Therefore, there is a lot of information to get through. Since I created the blogroll search engine this week, it also seemed like a good time to create a permanent post that can be accessed from the sidebar that explains everything you can find on the site.
Let's start with the left side bar.
At the very top is the most current IComLeavWe icon. IComLeavWe stands for International Comment Leaving Week. If you click on the icon, you will jump directly to the current list. The list opens on the 1st of every month. The list closes on the 21st and the commenting extravaganza runs from the 21st--28th. It is open to anyone and everyone in the blogopshere so you'll find ALI bloggers next to cooking bloggers and book bloggers.
Right underneath that are ads from BlogHer. I'm a contributing editor at BlogHer and I support all aspects of their network.
Underneath that, you'll find some labels. These labels mark some on-going projects that you may want to find. If you click on any of the names, you will be taken to a page where post after post on the same topic runs one after the other. In other words, click on Friday Blog Roundup and you'll find all the hundreds of past Friday Blog Roundups. It's a great resource when you've missed a favourite column and want to find it quickly. The little number next to the title shows you how many posts there has been in that topic.
The Peer Infertility Counselor List comes next. It is a list of people who are willing to be emailed with questions on a certain topic. Let's say you have a question specifically about fresh IVF cycles. Click on that picture of the person and you can scroll down the list until you find IVF. Click on a name to get their email address and send them a note. You may want to mention that you found them through the peer counselor list. Some people have been on it for a long time and new people get added whenever there's a volunteer.
Right underneath that is Operation Heads Up. You'll find a list of write-ups on different topics concerning adoption/infertility/loss. They are all written by fellow IFers based on their personal experience. People are encouraged to leave a comment in the comment section about their own experience. For some reason, people started leaving them anonymously, but you certainly don't have to do so. In fact, if you ask a question, you should provide a way to contact you and answer it.
The rest of the sidebar are badges and other people's blogrolls and stuff like that.
Let's jump over to the right side bar.
At the very top is the searchable blogroll. I keep a blogroll of every ALI blog in the blogosphere. You can access it here (this is what I call the "linked list" because people link to it from their own blog for easy access) or here (the left sidebar). There are people who help me keep it neat and organized. If you want your blog added, it's easy to do so and the instructions are at the top of the list. But the cool thing is the search bar. It is a customized search engine that only looks in the blogs on the blogrolls. So if you google MTHFR, you will not be led to a bunch of random Internet sites and wikipedia entries. Instead, you will find only blogs from the blogroll that mention MTHFR in one of their posts. How cool is that? Any blog added to the blogroll is also added to the search engine. I hope it helps you find other people with similar stories and connect with them through their blog.
Underneath that comes a little bio called "Who am I?" that has a link to my Blogger profile as well as my little orange icon. You can find a larger statement about who I am linked at the bottom of that little bio.
Currently, I have the project du jour listed beneath that. At this time, it's the Creme de la Creme list. I'm collecting submissions indefinitely and the list goes up on January 1, 2009.
Underneath that is a category called "Virtual Stone Soup." These are ongoing projects and they're generally a permanent post about the idea. All of the projects listed underneath are community building and they're a great place to go if you're looking to connect with other people.
After that you have all of the Sharon Barren movies. We started making these films for the International Infertility Film Festival (IIFF), though we still make them from time to time.
Jump under that and you get to a link for my advice column--Barren Advice--which generally runs each Tuesday. Submit a question or peruse old posts from that link.
The Bookshelf below that contains any links that are book related. We have an online book club that anyone can join in (and I hope you do). I do a lot of book reviews of ALI books and you can access them here.
Next up are two fun things: a lexicon of all the made-up words that appear on this blog as well as the Blogging Name Registry--a place to mark your two year blogging anniversary.
Underneath that are old sidebar links, a badge and information on Infertility's Common Thread (a project we began years ago and is still ongoing--I'm wearing my pomegranate string right now), and the archives for this blog. I also have an old project du jour listed beneath that-- U.T.E.R.U.S., our makeshift philanthropy. There is a donate button if you want to give directly and information on how to get involved.
Finally, let's jump to the center.
At its heart, this space is a blog. It is my story, but with so many community projects, it's your space as well. I write a lot--four to five times a week. At the very top is a permanent post called "Your Daily News Source." It contains links that are updated daily. When I post the latest Lost and Found (LFCA) post, I link to it up there. Bridges, my other site, is linked up there as well. Each time I post on BlogHer, I put up the title and a link in that post. I also give a status report from time to time.
Underneath that is my most current post. And then you can start scrolling down to read my blog chronologically backwards (beginning with today and moving through yesterday and beyond).
And that's my blog in brief. The sidebar links change frequently as projects are added or highlighted. For instance, in the winter, look for information on the Creme de la Creme. Whereas, in the summer, look for information on the Roundup Extravaganza.
Oh--and postingwise, I tend to post the Show and Tell every Saturday night, Barren Advice or a Read Me Book Review on Tuesday, and the Roundup on Friday. Every other day is a free-for-all. Oh--and the Virtual Lushary posts mid-month at some point. And the IComLeavWe list opens on the first of the month.
So welcome. Poke around and make yourself at home.