These Photos of ‘Snow Fairy’ Baby Nora With Albinism Will Melt Your Heart
When Taylor Dunnavant and fiance Chris Barnwell welcomed their second daughter to their family last month, they received a bit of a surprise — baby Nora was born with a full head of snow white hair! The couple’s newborn was born with albinism, a group of inherited disorders that limit production of the pigment responsible for hair, skin, and eye colour.
“When he set her down, all I could do was yell, ‘Oh!'” mum Taylor revealed following Nora’s birth. “Our baby had hair alright, a head full of hair, white as snow. I looked at Chris and all I could say to him was, ‘She has white hair.'”
After realising that their precious new addition, whose full name is Noralynn Kay, was born with albinism, they had a lot of questions.
“That’s when all the thoughts started swarming in. ‘How did she get white hair? What caused white hair? Is our baby albino? How could she be albino? Is she okay?’ I kept shaking,” she says. “The nurse told me [the shaking] was probably just from labour, but I think it was my nerves because I was terrified of what could come from this.”
The couple were concerned what their five-year-old daughter Brooklynn would think of her new sister, as while they had discussed what hair colour she might have, white was not one of the options they had thought of!
“I was dreading having to explain to our 5-year-old, Brooklynn, why her sister was different,” Taylor said. “I didn’t want Brooklynn to think we didn’t love her. It wasn’t so much directed towards Nora’s albinism, but more just I didn’t want Brooklynn to dislike her baby sister.”
But rather than question her little sister’s colouring, Brooklynn fell in love with her the moment she saw her.
“I didn’t have to tell her a thing … She told me that her sister was a snow fairy. And then informed me that she was related to Elsa,” she says. “I should have known that children see no differences.”
“As soon as she told me she looked like Elsa, I couldn’t help but laugh,” she says. “It was the most comical, yet heartwarming response. And I hoped the world would be just as accepting as my 5-year-old was.”
Once the family settled back at home with their newborn, they consulted some specialists to answer many of their questions about Nora’s condition.
“With neither of us having any family members that we know of that have albinism, we were completely confused,” she says. “The genetic counsellor explained to us that albinism is a recessive gene, meaning that both mother and father have to possess the gene in order for the baby to receive it. The other option is that baby mutated the gene all on her own.”
“With Nora specifically, it is unlikely that she will ever have any other hair colour other than white,” she says. “It is possible she may gain some pigment, but unlikely. The same with her eyes. She will most likely need some type of corrective lenses, like glasses. We will forever have to lather her up in the highest SPF of sunscreen that we can find. There is a chance that she could have trouble with hearing.”
“Everything that the specialist mentioned was manageable. This entire time I was horrified over all things that could be managed,” she says. “A little weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Her condition no longer was on my mind, knowing that she is healthy, just different.”
Taylor has revealed that taking her family out in public is not without its challenges, as other people’s curiosity generally gets the better of them.
“They would ask Chris and I if she was albino,” she says. “People would point and stare. And we even had people yell across the grocery store to ‘look at the little albino.’ Of course, this upset us. We expected that type of behaviour out of children but never from full-grown adults.”
The young couple found this sort of attention upsetting.
“How do you protect your children from the world being so cruel? How do we as parents make sure that our children do not grow up disliking themselves or things about themselves because they are different?”
“We cannot go anywhere without people stopping and asking something in reference to her hair. Or asking to see the colour of her eyes,” she says.
“Before Nora, Chris and I had zero knowledge of albinism,” she says. “We’re learning more and more every day.”
“I’m slightly upset with myself because I was so worried about the condition without knowing anything about it. But, now I know and everything’s going to be okay. We’ve been given such a special little girl to raise and to grow with. She not only brings joy to everyone that she meets but to anyone who gets to see her unique features in photographs.”
“This is definitely going to be a different journey than we had planned for, but it’s going to be okay. Having albinism is okay. Being different is okay.”