The birth of a child is comparable to a miracle. Now imagine a black child born to a white couple or, conversely, a white-skinned infant born to dark-skinned parents.
Science and logic find no concrete justification for such phenomena, but these unique cases prove that miracles can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone. Nigerian parents living in London have experienced this natural mystery firsthand.
The Nigerian immigrant couple Angela and Ben Ihegborough had their third child in 2010. The couple became parents of a girl. But once they saw their baby girl, they were speechless. The 35-year-old mother pronounced: “How beautiful she is. She’s a miracle baby.
Her parents chose the name Nmachi for their baby girl. However, the big difference between little Nmachi and the rest of the family was that she had fair skin, blue eyes, and blond hair.
The Ihegboro couple was completely puzzled. They couldn’t take their eyes off the baby and couldn’t find an explanation. Ben, forty-four years old, wouldn’t even allow the idea of his wife’s infidelity. He claimed that the daughter was certainly his. Ben was convinced that Angela could not have a baby on the side. But even allowing for that possibility, the girl would still look different.
While Angela and Ben admired their miracle baby, competent experts in genetics and medicine tried to find a scientific justification for such a phenomenon.
The experts had three theories to explain the fact of a white child born to black parents.
According to the first theory, a gene mutation could underlie Nmachi’s unusual appearance. And if this is true, then the mutated gene will be passed on from Nmachi to her children, who will also be white from birth.
According to the second theory the dormant white genes woke up in Nmachi, which made up the genome of her parents’ ancestors long ago and did not show up before Nmachi was born.
And the third theory says that the baby’s light skin is due to albinism. But the doctors noted that Nmachi is not an absolute albino, but rather a carrier of a mutated version of albinism.
Taking the third version as the basis, there is a possibility that the girl’s skin will gradually become darker. According to the BBC, this hereditary disease can “sleep” for many years and bypass several generations. Such cases are not uncommon in Nigeria.
Moreover, according to doctors, the Ihegborough couple may have long dormant Caucasian DNA in their genome as a consequence of interracial unions among their ancestors.
All scientific versions and assumptions do not worry Ben and Angela at all. They are immensely happy that the girl has chosen to be her parents. Ben says:
“I don’t think Nmachi is an albino. I’ve seen albinos in both Nigeria and in books, and our baby doesn’t look like one. She looks like a normal white baby.”
No doubt geneticists and medical scientists will be talking about Nmachi’s skin color more than once, but to Nmachi’s parents, she remains a true miracle.