PARENTS

Black Couple Has Three White Children

07/11/2014 11:53 | Updated 20 May 2015

black mum white children brazil albinism

A Brazilian mother has astounded her neighbours by giving birth to three black children and three white children - all with a black father.

Rosemere Fernanda de Andrade and ex-husband, Joao, are both black, but their first baby together, Ruth, was born with pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes.

You might think that means a guilty secret had been let out of the bag, but there was an innocent explanation - Ruth was diagnosed with albinism, a rare genetic condition which means she has no skin pigment.

A year later, Rosemere, 31, gave birth to Joao, who shared the same skin colour as his parents. But another year, the couple had third child, Estefani, who, like Ruth, was born an albino.

So was their next baby, Kauan, while the two youngest - Rebecca and Maria - are not affected by the condition.

Even in racially diverse Brazil, the family's incongruous appearance often leads to misunderstandings when they go out in public - and Rosemere is often assumed to be the 'white' children's nanny.

"It used to make my angry but I am learning people need educating about what albinism is," Rosamere said.

Albinism is a disorder which manifests as an absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Ruth, 14, Estefani, 12, and nine-year-old Kauan are so sensitive to sunlight that they need to have Factor 100 sun block applied every two hours, and are at serious risk of skin cancer.

And living in Recife, where temperatures frequently wander over 30° celsius, means that the trio can't join their brother and sisters outdoors after 10 a.m and can only play outside at night.

Rosemere gave birth to first child Ruth when she was 18. "I thought someone was playing a trick on me and had switched my baby with a white family's," she recalls of the moment she saw her baby.

black mum white children brazil albinism albino

The reaction of friends and neighbours didn't help Rosemere's adjustment to the unexpected situation. "The neighbours began making comments about Ruth, asking if she was diseased," Rosamere said.

"They even suggested Joao wasn't the father and I had been with someone else. It made me angry."

When Estefani was also born with albinism, it put both the local gossip and Rosemere's mind to rest.

"The doctors explained that both Joao and I must carry a gene for albinism and so each time we had a child there was a one in four chance the child would have it," she said.

Rosemere, who now lives with partner Robenilson, 37 - father to youngest daughter Maria - knows there's a chance any of her children could have albino babies of their own.

She said: "Although I would feel like a normal grandmother and accept my grandchildren as I accepted my children, I wouldn't wish this upon them."

The Andrade family's story appears in Body Bizarre on Thursday November 6 at 9pm on TLC.

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