Dad Ben, 44, a customer services adviser, admitted: “We both just sat there after the birth staring at her.” Mum Angela, 35, of Woolwich, South London, beamed as she said: “She’s beautiful – a miracle baby.” He added: “Actually, the first thing I did was look at her and say, ‘What the flip?’” But as the baby’s older brother and sister – both black – crowded round the “little miracle” at their home in South London, Ben declared: “Of course she’s mine.” It was the hair that initially confused him. “Obviously, she looked very light, but black babies are often much lighter-skinned at birth. it’s only over weeks and months that they get darker. But the hair was a shock from the off. Then the eyes. I have never seen such blue.”
Pale genes that disappear for generations before reappearing might explain the baby’s look.
“My wife is loyal to me,” Ben added. Even if she hadn’t been, the baby wouldn’t have turned out that way.
Although Angela was also taken aback, she found the most unexpected element to be other people’s reactions to her daughter’s skin hue.
‘Yes, her coloring was a surprise. When they placed her in my arms, I looked at her and thought: “My goodness, I have never seen a baby of our race this fair.”
‘And her hair! She looked like a doll. But the minute I held her, none of that mattered.
‘What has surprised me, though, is what other people have said. I’ve been asked: “Are you going to treat her any differently because she is lighter-skinned?” Of course not. Am I going to love her any less? Absolutely not. When she gets older and asks me why she is different, I will just say: “it was God’s will.” ‘
Doctors at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup – where Angela, from nearby Woolwich, gave birth – have told the parents Nmachi is definitely no albino. Ben, who came to Britain with his wife five years ago and works for South Eastern Trains, said: “She doesn’t look like an albino child anyway – not like the ones I’ve seen back in Nigeria or in books. She just looks like a healthy white baby.” He went on: “My mum is a black Nigerian although she has a bit fairer skin than mine.
“But we don’t know of any white ancestry. We wondered if it was a genetic twist.
“But even then, what is with the long curly blonde hair?”
Nmachi’s churchgoing mum Angela admitted that she was “speechless” at first seeing her baby girl, who was delivered in a cesarean op. She said: “I thought, ‘What is this little doll?’
“She’s beautiful and I love her. Her color doesn’t matter. She’s a miracle baby.
“All that matters is that she’s healthy and that we love her. She’s a proud British Nigerian.”
“In our culture, a baby is a blessing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a boy or a girl, or whatever color her skin is,’ she points out.”
“Her name means Beauty of God in our language, and we think it suits her so well.”