Online International Marriage Broker Promises Men Love and Women Escape, but It Comes With Risks


The Women Have Their Own Hopes -- but There Are Risks

The promise offered by A Foreign Affair's website is bolstered by the experience of the company's founder. Seventeen years ago, John Adams saw that the rise of the Internet and the fall of the Soviet Union created a rich matchmaking opportunity. He set up a mixer in Kiev where he himself met his Mrs. Right.

Toting folders full of potential mates, Wray, Dolego and 19 other men arrive at New York City's JFK airport to catch the flight to Odessa.

Dolego expects Julia to meet him at the airport. If this and other possible love connections fail to ignite, he says he'll keep trying.

"There's a couple of guys that have gone on the tour twice, sometimes three times. … Twenty percent of the men, according to John, get married over there on their first meeting. The other 20 percent find a substantial relationship, and they communicate back and forth, which eventually leads to marriage," he said.

Two flights and many hours later, the men arrive in Odessa. Cary is dejected that Julia isn't waiting at the airport as promised. Bob is thrilled to receive his first phone message from a woman named Elena.

"She's very nice. We've been corresponding, sending emails, but an email is an email. A person is a person. Big difference. Right?" Wray said.

After settling in, the men attend "socials" to which their online contacts have been invited and where, they've been promised, women outnumber men 25 to one. Meetings at socials lead to private dates.

Cary Dolego has clicked with a woman named Helen. Bob Wray has finally met Alla, an age-appropriate prospect he's been emailing with for months.

There are hopeless romantics on both sides of the romance tour.

"I met a man whom I liked very much. His name is Aaron. He's from the USA. Maybe it's love," said Angelika, a Ukrainian woman who participated in the tour events.

In addition to love, some women want to live in the U.S. and pursue a career. Others think American men have better family values.

"Ukrainian men seem to be less serious toward. [their home and family] because they want to find a girl who will do everything. … We think that men from America are more serious toward their families," said Svetlana Kalinichenko, a participant.

Kalinichenko, 34, said the social was "marvelous."

I like dancing and all the attention," she said.

She seemed to hit it off with a tour member. She said she would like to start a relationship with an American, adding that she has many friends living in the U.S. with their American husbands who "say they are quite happy."

Others come for a good time. One participant, Julia, estimated "no more than 30 percent" of the women attended to find true love and a successful marriage.

And of course, some women who answer A Foreign Affair's call see a chance to get rich foreigners to give them cash, expensive meals and gifts -- even a green card.

So two can play at the Internet matchmaking game, a game combining romantic hopes with less lofty things like sex and money.

Nonetheless, lawmakers and advocacy groups worry most about abused immigrant brides like Katerina Brunot, a Russian.

According to an article in The New York Times, after marrying a romance tourist and moving to the Atlanta suburbs, Brunot's Prince Charming turned into a monster. He physically abused her and, when she tried to flee, cut himself and had Brunot arrested for assault.

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