INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The number of grandparents caring for their grandchildren is skyrocketing as more parents lose their battle with drug addiction. A Howard County couple wants to help other grandparents with their same family dynamic.
Debra and Sam Bowman's son died almost three years ago in a car crash. The couple now has custody of their 4-year-old grandson.
"The night his daddy died is when Anthony came to stay with us," Debra said.
Zachary struggled with addiction for years and had drugs in his system the night of the crash. Just two weeks prior, he asked his parents to care for his son if something ever happened to him.
"So when he came from the abandonment with his parents and those issues, the big shock (to us) was just wow dealing with this little guy who is just lost," Sam said.
The Bowman family discovered they weren't alone in the grandparents raising their grandkids world. According to AARP, in Indiana more than 50,000 kids are being raised by their grandparents.
"Then I realized that my passion for nursing for 40 years had changed to become a passion for grandmothers raising grandchildren. I didn't realize they were everywhere. They're coming out of the woodwork," Debra said.
That's what inspired the family to write a book entitled The Summer of Paintless Toenails. The story outlines their grieving process and battling depression all while caring for her grandchild.
"I thought maybe if we put all this down it could help somebody," Debra said.
Having an active 4-year-old in the home has been a major change.
The Bowman family has also set up awesomegrandmothers.org and a support group in Howard County to help other grandparents who are the primary caregivers to their grandchildren. "The Summer of Paintless Toenails" can be purchased here.