Meet 45-year-old Sophia Blake, a black mother of one who gave gave birth to her second daughter named Tiara who turned out to be white.
So they were shocked when Tiara was born white and blue-eyed.
They thought Tiara’s hair and skin would darken as she grew older. Instead it has remained the same and their daughter has grown into a beautiful – albeit white, blue-eyed – little girl.
To make matters worse, Miss Blake, 45, has a daughter Donchae, 17, from a previous relationship with a black man and she is black like her mother.
‘I can’t walk down the road with Tiara without someone making a comment,’ says Miss Blake, a marketing executive from Selly Oak, Birmingham. ‘People simply don’t believe Tiara is my little girl because she looks so completely different.
‘When she was very tiny I didn’t mind so much. But as Tiara has grown older it has become more of a problem.
‘Until I had Tiara I didn’t appreciate how much we all identify ourselves with being white or black – and the issue now is Tiara has a black family but looks white. Sometimes she says, ‘why don’t we look alike mummy?’ I explain she is mixed race but it is very confusing for her.’
Miss Blake, who is estranged from her daughter’s father, believed she would give birth to a baby with dark skin and afro hair.
She says: ‘Black skin is usually dominant and my family, which hails from Jamaica, is very black. But at the very least I thought Tiara would be a mixture of Christopher and myself.
‘I was so shocked when she was born I actually said to the midwife, “Is she mine?” I simply couldn’t get over her being so pale and blue-eyed. Doctors explained it was a million to one chance that Tiara was so white and it was likely there was a white gene in my family which had remained dormant until now.’
Since then mum and daughter have been bombarded with attention wherever they go.
‘I’ve read about white babies being born to black mums before,’ says Miss Blake, ‘but the child still has afro hair and features – which Tiara doesn’t. She has naturally long straighter hair.
‘I do get tired of explaining she is my daughter. But even doctors and teachers seem confused. For example when I recently visited our doctor’s surgery the GP wanted to check if I was Tiara’s social worker or guardian.
‘When I told him sternly that I was Tiara’s mother, he was incredibly embarrassed and apologised profusely but it happens all the time.’
A recent hurdle was when Tiara started school. ‘When Tiara ran out of class and shouted “mum” to me I knew what those mothers who don’t know me were thinking – that Tiara must be adopted.
‘And the situation is even more pronounced when I go out with my mother, other daughter Donchae and Tiara because the fact we are all dark emphasises how white she is.’
Despite this, Miss Blake – who has decided to speak out to raise awareness that mixed race children can also be very white or very black – says she and Tiara are ‘peas in a pod’ when it comes to personality.
‘We are both extrovert, independent with a quirky sense of humour. And once people get to know us well they say we are very alike!’
She adds: ‘And maybe as her mum I’m biased but I do think she is so beautiful and I am just so proud.’