Black and white family: Francis and Arlette with Seth and Daniel
A black couple told yesterday of their shock and mystification when their son was born with white skin and blond hair.
Francis Tshibangu admitted: ‘My first thought was “Wow, is he really mine?”.’
He and his wife Arlette already have a two-year-old boy, Seth, whose features reflect his African parentage. But it is thought that baby Daniel, now 11 weeks old, has a slight genetic mutation. He is not an albino.
Congo-born Mr Tshibangu, 28, said his ‘jaw dropped open’ when Daniel arrived at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
‘I was too stunned to speak and I could see the doctors looking at each other, thinking the baby couldn’t be mine.
‘Then Arlette and I looked at each other and smiled and I knew he was. I have been with my wife for three years and there was never a question of infidelity, but seeing his white skin was a surprise to say the least.’
Mr Tshibangu, a sociology student, added: ‘The initial reaction from the nurses must have been that Arlette had had an affair. Their faces were a picture, but then I’m sure mine was too.
‘When I bent down and kissed him I got a better look at his features and could see he looked just like me and Arlette. He has my nose and my wife’s lips.
‘All we can say is that Daniel is our miracle and, though we are shocked by his white skin, we feel very blessed. He’s beautiful.’
His 25-year-old wife added: ‘The reaction in the operating theatre was one of shocked silence, myself included.
‘I stared at Daniel with my eyes wide. The looks on the faces of the doctors and nurses said it all. Everyone was wondering why I had a white baby.
‘But as the nurse put his little pink body in my arms I bonded with him instantly. When I looked at him all I felt was love.
‘Like any mum who has just given birth, my main concern was that he was healthy, which he is.’
Mr Tshibangu added: ‘I know there will be some who say my wife has had an affair but I trust her completely and know that isn’t the case.
‘Even if she’d had an affair with a white man, you would expect a mixed-race baby with black hair, not a white baby with soft blond hair like little Daniel.’ Mr Tshibangu, who has lived in Britain for ten years, met his future wife on a return visit to the Congo in 2007. They married a year later and settled near Loughborough.
Arlette qualified as a doctor in Africa and, while she is currently working as a part-time shop assistant, she hopes to practise medicine in the UK.
The couple believe Daniel could be a throwback to Arlette’s great-great-great-grandmother, who is also thought to have given birth to a white baby. But Mr Tshibangu said: ‘That was six generations ago and we don’t even know if that was true.’
He added: ‘You can see people looking at us thinking, “What are that black couple doing with that white baby?” I am sure there are a few people who think we have stolen him.
‘But to us, his skin colour isn’t important. The most important thing is that we have a healthy little boy who we love very much.’
I hope that the family is strong enough to not care about all those idiotic people that can’t stop themselves from judging others just because they don’t fit into their bigoted worldview.