I wanted to take the time this morning to write about my sweet nephew Burke.

I remember it like it was yesterday…. 

I was getting ready for work that morning when my phone rang.  It was my mom.  It was 5:30am.  When your mom calls at 5:30am you immediately begin to worry.  I picked up the phone as she exclaimed, “He’s here!  Your nephew, Burke, is here!  He was born just a little while ago and looks great!”

My mom gave me all the stats on him.  How much he weighs, how long he is.. you know, all those things you want to know when someone has a baby.  We talk for a little bit about my sister, the labor, the delivery, and how she’s doing.  Then, she lets me go so I can continue getting ready for the day.

I remember sitting there, excited for my sister, but sad at the same time.  You see, we lived in the Dallas area at that time, and I so wanted to be in San Antonio.  To see Burke, to hold him, to hug my sister, but I couldn’t.  I immediately began thinking about when I could make the 5 hour drive to San Antonio.

That morning I floated on cloud 9 as I thought about my sister and the newest addition to our family.  I couldn’t wait to see him!  I couldn’t wait until it was time to take the kids to specials (PE, Art, Music) so that I could call and check up on everyone.

When I finally got to my phone, I noticed that I had a missed call and voicemail from my mom. I quickly listened to her message.  It went something like.. “Call me as soon as you can.  It’s about Burke.”  I could tell by her voice that something was wrong… terribly wrong.

I immediately called her back.  When she picked up the phone, I noticed her voice was shaky.  Had she been crying?  Mom explained that Burke had several indicators of Down Syndrome.  She asked me to pray for him, for my sister and her husband, to send out a prayer request to everyone I knew.  I stood there, my legs shaking, my heart quickening and my mind racing…  How could this be?  How could they have missed this?  Why my sister?  Why, God?

There comes a time in every one’s life where you question God.  When you ask God.. why?  Maybe even… How could YOU do this to ME?  I began to pray like no other… I asked God to take this diagnosis away.  Make him alright.  Let it be a mistake.

An hour later, we knew for sure.  My little nephew, Burke, has Down Syndrome.  ‘

The tears fell.  I could only imagine what my sister and her husband were going through.  My heart broke.  This was just the first of many times that day that I felt my heart breaking in two.

I thought about my sister and my heart broke for her, for the baby she dreamed of.  When you are pregnant, you imagine what your baby will be like.  No one ever imagines their baby being… different.  In that instant, life changed… not just for my sister and her husband, but for my entire family.

Later, I received the first picture of little Burke…

Immediately, I fell in love.  My perspective changed.  I LOVED this little boy, and no matter the diagnosis, he would be no different to me.  Thoughts immediately flooded my mind… thoughts I have no doubt that God placed there.  Thoughts like.. “Every good and PERFECT gift comes from above.. James 1:17”,  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…Jeremiah 29:11” 

That afternoon I got to talk to my sister. I listened as she cried and cried. I remember her telling me that she worried about his future, but most of all, she worried about how other people would treat him. About how other KIDS would treat him. As a teacher, I understood. Kids are mean. Really mean. The thing is, when I think back to the children I’ve seen with special needs in the school system, and especially those with Down Syndrome, the children embrace them.. take care of them. Yes, they treat them differently, but not in a bad way.  It’s almost like children know.  Maybe God softens their heart for these children.  

I remembered when I taught 4th grade in Coppell and we had a boy with Down Syndrome on our grade level. The kids LOVED him! They encouraged him to play soccer with them at recess, and they always made it so he could make a score during each game. 

I shared these things with my sister and encouraged her as best I could.  I’m sure it didn’t change anything at the time.  When I hung up, I prayed.. not for Burke, not for my family, but for my sister.  That God would help her to see the “good and perfect gift” he had blessed her with. 

Burke’s daddy, Keith, started a blog so he could keep the family updated.  If you have time, you can read about Burke from their point of view…  Burke Burkington Burkenstock 

Burke spent a week in ICU…

Burke finally got to come home…

Doesn’t my sister look great?  Burke even waved good-bye!  🙂

A few weeks later, after things calmed down in their household, I was able to make the drive to come see my nephew for the first time. 

Isn’t he a doll? Just being with him made me love him more.  I wanted to hold him forever. 

I remember at one point, Keith offered to watch Burke so my sister and I could go to lunch.  I loved being there with her.  It made me sad to know that I couldn’t be there to help her through this on a daily basis.  That I couldn’t babysit or watch Burke grow. 

After lunch, on my way back to my parent’s house, I was stuck at light.  As I sat there, holding back the tears, I had a thought.  Again.. God.. “Why can’t you live here?”  My mind started racing.  Could we move back?  It would mean leaving my school of 8 years, my best friends, and the church we loved, but was it possible?

Later that night I talked to my husband as I ran the idea by him.  He liked the idea.  He had just received a promotion that involved traveling, but it also allowed him to work from home.  Couldn’t he do that from anywhere?  He decided he would run it by his boss that Monday.  I prayed…for God’s will.  If God had truly put that thought in my mind, then wouldn’t he allow it to all work out.  After all, “.. we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Maybe, just maybe, being near my family was part of God’s purpose.

In the end, my hubby’s boss said it was fine, I turned in my resignation, we found an amazing home in San Antonio, and we moved on June 2nd. 

Now, I get to babysit Burke…

My boys get to grow up with Burke.  They absolutely adore him…

Life for our family has changed, but I have seen nothing but blessings.  Burke coming into the world changed our lives forever, and I am so thankful for that.  I have watched my sister and her husband become amazing parents.  I am excited to see how God will use this little boy to change this world.  I have no doubt that he will!

In just two short weeks, my family and I will be participating in the National Down Syndrome Buddy Walk.  We would love for you to help us out by making a donation… maybe even just $5, to help out this amazing organization that helps children, like my nephew Burke.  It would mean the world to us!

Click here to donate… Burke’s Best Buddies  UPDATE… Thanks so much to everyone who donated!!!  We LOVE you!!!  Because of you, we ranked 2nd overall in fundraising!  If you haven’t read it yet, you can read about our first Buddy Walk here


Much Love,


My name is Claire and I am behind the blog... The Rustic Pig. I am a wife, a mother to 2 boys, and I just might be addicted to Craigslist. I love to buy antiques, paint them, and give them a chance to be loved again! Please feel free to pull up a chair and stay for a while. If you ask a question or leave a comment, I will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible!


Don't miss a thing! Get posts directly to your inbox!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner



Texas gal, wife, mother to 2 boys, author behind the blog The Rustic Pig, business owner, antique lover, and Christ follower!
If you are having any kind of hair issues.. hair loss, alopecia, thinning or lifeless hair, dull or brassy... https://t.co/PJiQOK7oCX - 2 weeks ago

Latest posts by Claire (see all)


  1. Hi Claire: I found your story on Make it Pretty Monday. What a beautiful post. That little boy is so darling. I worked at an elementary school for many years and saw just what you were talking about. It was amazing how the kids took up to the Down Syndrome kids, helping them with everything. We have a young lady in our town that works at Safeway. She is such a good worker and has a charming and sweet personality. She loves to put on her makeup. She is leading quite a regular life. I hope my little donation helps. My daughter is a breast cancer survivor and has been doing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer for the last nine years. I know how hard it is to raise the funds. Good luck to all your family and cherish that little boy and his wonderful smile..Happy Monday..Judy

    • Hi Judy! Thank you so, so much!!! You are sooo sweet! I’m sending you BIG hugs!! Thanks for your comments.. I know my sister will be reading this! So good to hear that your daughter is a survivor! I can only imagine what your family went through during that time. Thanks again!! Hugs, Claire

  2. Have you read Momastery blog? She wrote the neatest post about her love for Down Syndrome sweeties. I can’t find the link to the post but this is her website http://momastery.com/blog/what-is-momastery/.

    thanks for sharing!


  3. Hi Bobi! I haven’t, so I’ll head there now! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. What a sweet story! He’s a charmer! He’s in good hands and will live a good life! Bless your heart for moving closer to your sister.

  5. What a beautiful story. An amazing little guy. I am sure everyone’s life is blessed by having him. What a joy. Thanks for sharing. Karie

  6. Dearest Claire,
    My heart is so moved by your loving story about beautiful little Burke. He is so perfect and such a ray of sweet sunshine!
    To me the Hallmark of a DS child has always been “Smiles”. God has blessed no one more proufoundly with smiles than He has these special babies. They are precious in His sight!
    Thank you for sharing and blessings to yours and your sister’s family.
    Carolynn xoxo

  7. What an adorable nephew he is! That verse in 1 Sam 16:7 comes to mind. While humans tend to look at the outward appearance, our God sees the heart.

    Btw, I have never seen a boy’s shirt that said “cute like mom” – how adorable!

  8. I’m here via Meet Me Monday at You Are Talking Too Much. I read this with tears in my eyes because I’m right there with you. It will be 4 years on October 23rd that I was called on my way to work by my sisters MIL and told that my sister was in ICU after the birth of her twins. She was only 2 hours away, so off I went. When I arrived at the hospital to find my sister was definitely going to be okay, but that our little girl was most likely Down Syndrome. My sister was devastated, but oh my how wrong we were to worry. Our Jessie is the love of our lives and I can’t imagine her any other way!

  9. Claire, your post really touched me. We lost a little girl with Trisomy 13 prior to birth. You beautifully wrote about so many of the emotions many of us that find out our children will not be “perfect” by the world’s standards feel. I hope by featuring your post this week, you’ll get at least one more contribution for Burke’s fundraiser!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and linking up to the Tuesday To Do Party! You are a List Maker this week! Feel free to stop by and grab a button!

    • Oh Jami… my heart breaks for you. I can’t even imagine the pain of losing a child. I always hold on to the fact that God had a reason and I have no doubt you’ll meet your perfect little girl in heaven!

      Thanks so much for the feature! We are super excited about our walk this weekend and are getting our posters and shirts ready to go! Thanks again!! HUGS!!!

  10. Oh, thank you so much for sharing this with us last weekend at Inspiration Friday! It is so obvious that this experience has drawn you closer to each other and closer to the Lord as you have witnessed His plan for Burke’s life unfold. He is absolutely darling and what a blessed boy to be born into such a wonderful family! We will be featuring this at Inspiration Friday this week so be sure to stop by! 🙂

  11. The Lord works in so many ways to give us happiness. Just when we feel, the question coming: why? why?..that we realize, why! Look at your family so happy together, living so close to each other and my goodness, how your hubby’s job all fell into place is amazing, it’s God’s miracle! Burke is a darling, I wish I could hold him too, so adorable! May God bless you all.

  12. Love, Love your blog today. It was read with tears of knowing exactly the emotions your sister and family had shared. Also tears of Joy knowing first hand the blessing that come from the very hand of God. We have a very special little guy who’s almost 5yrs (Nov 1st).Those very verse were my lifeline along with Ps 139:14-18 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
    17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
    Thank you for sharing your family wonderful blessing.


  13. Claire, There is no greater and more pure love than that, which will flow from your nephew! When our children are small, there is such an innocence that is so pure. As they grow, it is an innocence that slowly escapes as their eyes open to the great big and sometimes nasty world. Your precious nephew will always keep that innocence and see the goodness in the world with pure love and happiness…what a beautiful gift you all have! He is precious! Coming over from my dear friend Vanessa’s, Inspiration Friday! Christie at Three Pixie Lane

    • Hi Christie! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comments. You are so right! Even at his young age, he is just the perfect little baby. He is only upset when he is sick, but otherwise just so happy! Hugs!!

  14. Claire, I found your story so moving. Sweet little Burke is absolutely adorable, and I’m sure he will sweeten the hearts of many, many people as he journeys through his life.


  1. […]  My sweet nephew has Down Syndrome.  You can read about my sweet Burke here.  He is just the sweetest boy in the whole world, and my boys absolutely ADORE […]

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge