Cynthia Bowen first met Baby B when he was in the hospital. He had third-degree scalding burns over 65 percent of his body, given to him by his biological mother. He was nine months old and his doctors didn’t expect him to live. But he did.
In “Proud Flesh: The Resurrection of Baby B, A Love Story,” Bowen recounts how she, her two daughters and her husband became intertwined in Baby B’s life.
Bowen’s younger daughter was a medical resident rotating at Shriner’s Hospital in Galveston when Baby B arrived. Although the child was surviving his injuries, he wasn’t able to leave the hospital. Child Protective Services couldn’t find a foster family that would give Baby B a home.
“He would have had to remain in the hospital,” Bowen says. “He was not receiving the kind of emotional caring and loving and holding that a child should receive when going through that.”
So Bowen’s daughter called her and asked if she would consider acting as a foster mom to Baby B. She fell in love.
“I saw him in the hospital and those big beautiful liquid eyes – they never left my face,” Bowen says. “When I went out to help my daughter to take care of him it just – it was just a natural progression.”
Bowen was only supposed to help out for a month, but CPS failed to produce a family to take Baby B home. Bowen says she stayed, rather than have him be shuffled through various temporary fixes.
Bowen at first chronicled Baby B’s medications and care instructions in a notebook to help her remember when and how Baby B needed to be attended to. That later transformed into a journal where she not only wrote those details, but wrote about her experiences at the hospital visiting Baby B. She says she had never intended to write a book.
Several years down the road, Bowen’s older daughter adopted Baby B. Bowen went from being a foster mom to a grandmother, and from a grandmother to a grandmother who writes. Baby B is now 11 years old.
“We like to say he lost a family – a mother. But he gained three mothers and a wonderful role model in my husband,” Bowen says. “We all pulled together. No matter how rough it got, we never turned on each other. All of our energies and all of our commitment was to help this innocent little child.”