My only dream is to raise my daughter with her father

My daughter’s face really resembles her father’s. When I look at her, it is like I am seeing him. All of those most beautiful childhood moments, the ones my daughter should be experiencing with her dad, are slipping through our fingers.
My daughter with her father: My daughter’s face really resembles her father’s. When I look at her, it is like I am seeing him.[rfa]
My daughter with her father: My daughter’s face really resembles her father’s. When I look at her, it is like I am seeing him.[rfa]

My daughter with her father:- My daughter’s face really resembles her father’s. When I look at her, it is like I am seeing him. All of those most beautiful childhood moments, the ones my daughter should be experiencing with her dad, are slipping through our fingers.

We can never get that time back. Kids grow up so fast. Six years of life which they could have spent together have passed, for nothing.

And the years are still passing. If I could see them playing together, I’d turn into the happiest woman in the world.

Great God, please show me those days soon.

I met the love of my life, Ablimit. We exchanged beautiful vows, got married, and I got pregnant with our daughter. All we wanted was to live peacefully together as a family.

The only thing – the only thing – we asked for was a loving family.

After I became pregnant, I returned to the United States. Our plan had been for Ablimit to apply for a visa within a few months and, after he wound up his affairs in Urumqi, to come to America. In June 2017, the Chinese authorities confiscated his passport. From there, the plans we’d made were turned upside down.

And now, our daughter is six years old and they haven’t ever hugged. We have never eaten a single meal together as a family. Every time my daughter and I sit down at the dinner table, I see the image of my smiling husband sitting opposite me, and I feel the tears welling up.

When my daughter was a newborn, Ablimit and I kept in touch on WeChat.

When I felt that I couldn’t look after her alone, when I sat crying along with her, he gave me support. Stay strong, he said. I’ll be there soon. I’ll take our entire family’s load on myself. I’ve put you in a hard situation.

Please forgive me, he said. I sat counting the days.

But as time passed, the situation worsened. The phone calls we used to have daily decreased. His words became shorter, his face serious and drawn.

In January last year, my husband suddenly started and ended a video call. When I called him, he said – in the harshest tone – that he’d call me back, and he hung up.

Normally he would speak to me in such a sweet, soft voice.

But this time, he spoke in a harsh tone. You’ve been taking me to “messy” places, getting mixed up with “messy” people and doing “messy” things, he said. Why can’t you just shut up, sit at home, and watch our child?


I’ll remember that day forever. That was the first day he’d ever spoken that rudely to me. He didn’t care for my feelings. He yelled at me in front of our daughter. And even Erden’ay felt this.

After we hung up, my vision blurred. My heart contracted, as if the apartment’s walls had collapsed. I didn’t know what to do.

My daughter was not yet at an age where she could understand what was happening. But she stared at me with the same small, jet-black eyes her father has.

Feeling I couldn’t stay at home in this state, I gathered up my daughter and went to a shopping mall near our home. I sat my daughter down in my lap and pressed her to my chest. I cried and cried.

All around, smiling couples passed by, holding hands – endless mothers and fathers leading their children. I looked at them and felt completely alone.

Pulling back my tears, I took my daughter to a playground. She looked at the equipment and went off happily to play.

Upon seeing my daughter’s sweet smile, my heart was filled with warmth. My daughter’s happiness was my happiness. Instantly, my loneliness and insecurity vanished from my mind.

“Mama, Daddy’s really bad,” she said.

But I said, No, sweetie, your daddy’s not bad. He’s been forced to say those things.

And the thing that broke my heart the most? My spouse, a descendant of Abduhalik Uyghur – the great 20th century educator and poet, who told his people to wake up – told me not to teach our daughter the Uyghur language.

Because we were in America, it was enough for her to know English, he said, implying I should not bring her to the Uyghur school.

I knew something was wrong. There must have been Chinese police with him, forcing him to say this. By forcing him to speak this way, they planned to silence me.

They are trying to keep me from joining protests and showing the world the truth about the Uyghur genocide and the Chinese government’s unjust policies toward Uyghurs.

One very ordinary example of which is: They do not allow someone like my husband to see his U.S. citizen daughter.[VOA]
One very ordinary example of which is: They do not allow someone like my husband to see his U.S. citizen daughter.[VOA]

One very ordinary example of which is: They do not allow someone like my husband to see his U.S. citizen daughter.

I keep telling my daughter that she has such a proud Uyghur ancestor in Abdulhalk Uyghur. My girl doesn’t really understand concepts like “nationality” and “homeland” yet.

But when introducing herself, she always gives her full name: Erden’ay Uyghur. And she notes that the word Uyghur is the name of her nationality.

I’m trying to teach my daughter Uyghur language and writing at home. But because there is nobody else at home to speak Uyghur with, teaching it becomes challenging as well. So I take her to Uyghur school on the weekends. Besides learning Uyghur language, she meets other Uyghur friends at school, and I want her to have a childhood filled with friends.
At Uyghur school, besides language, they teach girls dance. Like me, my daughter loves to dance. And like her, I was interested in dance from childhood. Later on, I went to dance school. After graduation, I started working in the Autonomous Region’s Muqam Ensemble. A professional dancer!

And when, every weekend, I saw those cute, mischievous Uyghur kids coming to class, I felt that teaching them Uyghur dance as I had learned it was my responsibility. So, I joined the ranks of volunteer teachers at Uyghur school.

For annual Nowruz and New Year’s gatherings, the girls in my dance class, including my daughter, learn Uyghur children’s dances and put on performances for the Uyghur community.

I believe that these cute, American-grown kids, dressed in Uyghur dance costumes, dancing bold Uyghur dance, to Uyghur music, gives hope to Uyghurs in exile. It raises hope that, in foreign lands, Uyghur identity will not disappear.

Our girl is growing up well, Ablimit.

My only dream is to raise my daughter together with her father. To sit at the same table eating the same holiday meal.

Such a simple, universal dream, right?

Is it not possible in this world for my living husband to raise my girl together with me? VOA/SP

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