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I’m the Only Father My Children Will Have

Would you be willing to give up your career, your aspirations, and a $600,000 annual salary if your family was in need? I know a man who did.

In 1985 Tim Burke saw his boyhood dream come true the day he was signed to pitch for the Montreal Expos. After four years in the minors, he was finally given a chance to play in the big leagues. And he quickly proved to be worth his salt—setting a record for the most relief appearances by a rookie player.

Along the way, however, Tim and his wife, Christine, adopted four children with very special needs—two daughters from South Korea, a handicapped son from Guatemala, and another son from Vietnam. All of the children were born with very serious illnesses or defects. Neither Tim nor Christine was prepared for the tremendous demands such a family would bring. And with the grueling schedule of major-league baseball, Tim was seldom around to help. So in 1993, only three months after signing a $600,000 contract with the Cincinnati Reds, he decided to retire.

When pressed by reporters to explain this unbelievable decision, he simply said, “Baseball is going to do just fine without me. But I’m the only father my children have.”

Heroes are in short supply these days. Tim and Christine Burke are two of them.

Dr. James Dobson, Coming Home, Timeless Wisdom for Families, (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton; 1998), pp. 16-17