A Mother’s Heart: An Open Letter to My Sister’s Mother

A photo of a stuffed corgi on a sign that says Tsui Tsui, Welcome Sister

Dear Aye,

I know we don’t really speak the same language, but we are both mothers who love our children very much, and I am also a daughter separated from her mother at a young age, so I wanted to write to you because I love you and Tsui and because I hope that my words can help you to worry less, even though you will miss her very much. I am hoping someone will translate this letter for you into Burmese and that you will not lose much of the meaning in the translation.

I wanted to tell you how much I admire your courage and hers. It is a very scary thing to come to a new country from your home at such a young age, to a family that you have never met, to begin life in a very, very different place. It is also a scary thing to let  your daughter go to people who are strangers, connected by marriage and not blood, in the hopes that they will treat her like family, love and protect her, especially when you have been with her during her whole life, for all of her important moments.

I know that this is the best choice for right now, that Tsui would come while you stay near my father, but the best choice does not always mean the easy choice. I want to thank you for trusting us to help Tsui adjust to the United States. I promise to do my best to help her, to be a good big sister to her, to love her as I love my own children, to protect her as best I can, and to teach her what life is like here. We always welcome you. We hope one day you can come to be with her here or that she can come back to you there, in safety. If and when that time comes, I hope you know that we will support and help you too, however we can. You are our family too.

I know what it is to miss someone you love with your whole heart, who is, in many ways, an extension of yourself. I wish we could make this easier, but I don’t think we can make this part better. What we can do is share photos and messages and memories that Tsui will make here, be here for her, until you are together again. We will love her and treat her with care.

I hope we can meet you soon too. Until that time, we are holding you in our hearts.

I am holding you in my heart.

With love,


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