Lambing season 2010 has been an emotional roller coaster for us. We purchased a small flock of sheep from the previous property owner, and they ere already bred at the time we took over ownership. So, we had no control of who was going to have babies, and how many babies they were going to have.
The first ewe to give birth had twins, and made it look easy. She took care of both of her babies right away, and they grew healthy and strong. It certainly wasn’t a sign of things to come. The second ewe became very ill with toxemia, which is similar to diabetes in pregnant women. We lost both her and her twins. Each eve that gave birth from that point forward either rejected one of their babies, if they had twins, or had health problems. In the end, we lost four ewes, had four stillborns, and lost one newborn at two days old.
The two day old we lost was one we were attempting to bottle raise because it’s mother had rejected it. It was our first experience with a rejected baby and we probably steppen in too late to help the little guy. When he died, I took it very hard and blamed myself for not intervening sooner, but we didn’t know to do that at the time. I was so upset that I said I was never going to attempt to bottle raise anther one. Sure enough, Chris comes in the next morning with this little guy that no will claim. He was just out in the middle of the pasture all alone. I was thinking “Funny Lord..real funny.. I don’t want to do this again!!”. I had no choice though because we weren’t even sure who his mom was. Ironically, I seemed to have the “magic touch” to get them started sucking on the bottle, so not getting attached wasn’t an option for me. So many prayers were spoken right out loud over that little guy. Lambs have to be fed every 2 hours during the first week of life, so we watched the old Daniel Boone TV series on DVD to entertain ourselves as we cared for the lambs, and that’s where Mingo got his name. Mingo was the Indian friend of Daniel Boone, and that was the name we chose for our new lamb.
`Twelve hours later we had another very ill ewe give birth to twins. The first was stillborn, but the second was alive. She was very wek though, and again, would need to be bottle fed. Again, I was very fearful that we would lose her because she was so weak, and she took a lot longer to learn to walk than the other lambs did. A ton of praying and turning her over to the Lord and surrendering my will to Him, and learing how to let Him handle it. Her name is Izzie, and it came from the Daniel Boone series too. We named her after his son Israel. So, now God had given me two lambs to raise, and what a job it was!
We keep our bootle lambs in the house because we don’t really have a proper barn yet. So, we put diapers on them, and we feed them with baby bottles. So, it’s a lot like having babies again!
We weren’t quite done yet though. We still had another baby to ad to the crew. Four days later, a set of twins were born, but the ewe didn’t want the second baby, so bottle baby number three joined our nursery. Bella was our largest baby, and she took to the bottle the fastest. She was, by far, the easiest of the three to bottle raise because she loves to eat. I have never had to worry about her not eating enough!
The babies are about a month old now, and still inside with us. We’re working on introducing grain, but they much prefer their bottles of milk. We’ve spent may nice afternoons outdoors, but they prefer a blanket and pillow to hay, hooves down. They are very attached to us, and think their world is coming to an end if we’re not in their sight. They like to be massaged before they go to sleep at night in their playpen.
What does this have to do with the adoption process? Well, more than you might think. This was an ominous task that I was afraid of because of the loss of the first lamb. I can’t do something like this half way, that’s just not me. So, God pushing me back into the pool forced me to rely on Him and just go for it. We just jumped in and did it, and we’ve all survived.
It’s going to be the same with the adoption. There will be hurts, frustrations, and tears. I’m sure I’m going to feel like I’ve failed and want to give up and God’s going to have to push me right back in the pool again. I will remember and lean on this experience as inspiration when times are touch. The bottom line is this though… Without God’s help I can’t do it, and that’s a fact!