Hi Oprah, hi HARPO team, thanks for the wonderful show about marriages around the world!As a Ukrainian women and mail-order bride as well :), I have lots to say about the subjects of your show.
I was listening to Ukrainian mail-order bride Lera's story and to the women with opposite opinions about Lera's story. I appreciate very much Lera's honesty when she explained, why she decided to look for husband abroad: "For me, it was an arrangement where someone would help me get a visa and perhaps a green card, and a husband comes with the deal". Well, girl was 19 years old and she wanted to live better life, than people around her, what's wrong with that? So, in such a young age she has chosen her way, which actually was a big risk and a big lottery at the same time: I have read plenty of stories about Slavic women which got married abroad and were abused by their foreign husbands or even killed. I would say that Lera won a jack-pot, finding a nice man who love her and care about her, and I am personally happy for her!
Also, other Ukrainian women in Oprah's show were offended that Ukrainian woman was represented to the world only on Lera's example, which is not making an objective picture of Ukrainian woman at all. Their arguments were that not all the Ukrainian women are like Lera: most of them are care about good education and good jobs and about becoming SOMEBODY in a society, so they are not only dreaming about "prince on a white horse" who will come one day and will give them EVERYTHING.
Well, guys, I can say about my life experience. I am originally from Ukraine. Living in Ukraine, I actually became SOMEBODY in my career and in eyes of local society, but I was INCREDIBLY UNHAPPY in my personal life: that's why I signed up to online dating website. Not in my 19 years old though, like Lera: in my 19th I was working for getting my university degree and for building my career (I am a journalist); well, I had lots of hardships back that time, such kind of hardships, than, I am sure, Lera did not experienced even close, but... I did not have a single thought that I can solve all my problems by escaping from my country.
I would say I quite accomplished what I wanted: back in 1990th, I was regional reporter of a big West Ukrainian newspaper and I was paid so well, that my friends-journalists from smaller local newspapers couldn't even dream about. I paid all my bills by myself; I could afford to buy the best clothes and the best shoes which I could find in my city (as you know, appearance is a big part of woman's life, especially Ukrainian woman); I could afford to pay for myself in the fanciest restaurants; I was able to buy many other nice things, but... I was walking by all those stores and restaurants and I felt very unhappy, because a guy, whom I loved so much, was in love with another girl (classic triangle!) It was only thing I couldn't buy: a love! The situation was getting even more complicated because I am "a one man woman": if I love one guy, other ones simply don't exist for me. So, while I spent few years hoping, maybe, something will change and I will get this my THE ONE (that's what I was thinking, that he is the one), I lost men which loved me, because I "didn't see" them and they successfully got married to other women.
By that time I was 35 years old and my clock was ticking badly. Many people started to give me "good advises" like, "Maybe, you should give a birth to a child for not being so alone?" Funny fact, my advisors were not single parents at all: they were married people! I had one answer to them, "No way!" Why? It is because I had in my mind a sad example of my Mom's life. She raised me alone and she lost her health on it. So, I always wanted to have a family first, to have a man whom I would love and who would love me, and than to think about children: if God will bless us with kids, great! If not... well, it His God's will. But I didn't want to be alone anymore, to spend my New Years and Valentine Days in a company of TV only; so, I realized that finding husband abroad is my only chance to get my personal happiness. Why abroad, because in Ukraine to find a single man of my age range (35-40 years old) it is the same that to look for a needle in the Sahara desert :) More than that, it is problem even to find a decent divorced man of this age range in Ukraine. I am not wondering why, take a look at statistic. The population of Ukraine is 45 millions people. 53.7% of them are women, 46.3% are men. So, 7.4% of Ukrainian women destined to stay alone all their life.
So, I signed up to online dating service and I was pleasantly surprised: there are plenty of single foreign men in the age of 40-45! Oh my, in Ukraine man is becoming a grandfather in this age! I am not joking: I met few guys, my classmates, on my 25th high school reunion, and they proudly smiled, "Yeah, we are already grandfathers!" So, I would say, Lera is quite right, saying, that 25 old single woman is out of chances to find a husband in Ukraine. More than that: in the village where I was born and grew up, a girl call as "old maiden" in her 20, if she is not married yet, and a boy call an "old bachelor", if he is not married to his 30.
Ok, back to my story. I spent two years searching for my soul mate online and I finally found him! His name is Ron, he is Canadian of Ukrainian descent and we are happily married since 2007!Except finding a husband for myself, all of sudden I got a hobby of a matchmaker: three my friends-journalists (they are wonderful Ukrainian women) asked me for help to find soul mates for them as well. I am very proud I did it. All my girls are happily married now to their western husbands.
Well, sorry, guys, for taking your time by telling you such a long story: what I wanted, actually, to say, that, for my opinion, Ukrainian mail-order bride Lera in Oprah's show didn't expose in very bad light all the Ukrainian women, on contrary! Look at the Lera herself: she is a gorgeous woman (take a look at the picture below),intelligent, educated, kind and honest, caring about her family. What's wrong with that?
Other thing, that audience of Oprah's show worldwide, maybe, will start to think, that all the Ukrainian women want to be mail-order brides and to escape somewhere from Ukrainian hardships, which is not true.
Next thing is, after listening to the Lera's story, people might think, that all the mail-order brides from Ukraine (Russia, Moldova etc) are singing up for international dating services, because they want free ride to USA (Canada, England, Australia etc), which is not true as well. You can see it on example of my story and stories of Ukrainian women whom I helped to find their destinies abroad. Well, to tell all their stories, we need, probably, to ask Oprah to do one more show :)