Searching for a mail-order bride…REALLY???

a mail order bride really

by Kenneth Justice

~A while back a mid-fortyish woman sat down with me at coffee and began sharing her story. In pretty good English she explained to me that she had immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe; “My husband and I met at a dance in my home country and we married the next day. I spoke no English, and he couldn’t speak my language… for the first year I lived in the U.S. we could barely communicate

It turns out she learned to speak English by watching American television and by the end of the first year she had acquired a good grasp of the language….mainly because she never left the house and had little else to do. Her days were spent cooking, cleaning, and sleeping with her ‘husband’. In return, he sent a monthly stipend to the woman’s teenage daughter back in Europe in order for the daughter to attend University.

You see, the reason the woman agreed to marry a man she had only met once, couldn’t communicate with, and move to a foreign country…..was all for her daughter. Back in Europe, her first husband by whom she became pregnant had abandoned her. She didn’t have enough money to send her daughter to school and because of the massive unemployment back home; she believed the only chance in life that her daughter had was to earn a college degree.

Life had been difficult for the woman living in Europe….and now that she was in the United States it wasn’t any easier. “I’ve been here for 3 years and have only recently begun to make a couple friends. I believe my husband suffers from some type of mental problem because he never leaves the house except to buy groceries. He has no friends, no acquaintances, and never even gets phone calls from people”.

I can’t imagine what life must be like for someone who literally trades everything they’ve ever known to move thousands of miles across the ocean to a land where they can’t even speak the language……all because of the love she has for her child.

Would you have married the man if not for your child?” I asked

She shook her head, “Do not ask questions like that, it is no good to dwell on things that are not” she said

So was the tradeoff worth it; sex and marriage for her child’s education? Would I have done it if I were in the mother’s place……I simply don’t know. Life can be very difficult depending on our circumstances. When I travel to Central America, where prostitution is legal, the women (usually mothers I suspect) who work as prostitutes are much more visible than here in the United States where the practice is illegal and must be done behind the eyes of the seeing public. I’ve often wondered what it must be like to trade your body for the sake of your children. It is heart wrenching to realize that this is what occurs every day, throughout every part of the world.

Not to trivialize my own struggles in life….but when I put them in perspective with the struggles of that woman I had coffee with; it seems like I don’t even know what real hardship truly feels like. Yet while it’s important to remind myself  that there are people who are really in need all around the world….it is every bit as important that I don’t forget about those who are living next door to me.

I can’t tell you how many single mothers I have come across here in the U.S. who are struggling to pay their bills on time every month. Thank god for all of the divorced dads who are still involved in their children’s lives…..but unfortunately there are a lot of fathers who are entirely absent; leaving a tremendous burden upon the shoulders of the mother.

It’s also amazing to me how many couples are out there who are not divorced, who are sticking together….but are barely getting by each month financially. Both parents work and are still overwhelmed with trying to pay their house bill, groceries, utilities, and still have something left over to buy holiday presents for their children. These are the families that sit next to us at church and at coffee; they look no different than you or I.

—) Sometimes, all it takes to help someone is to offer to babysit their children one night a week for free

—) Sometimes, all it takes to really change someone’s life for the better is to help pay for their electric bill one month

—) Sometimes, all it takes to make a difference is to begin being a friend to someone who doesn’t have any friends

While my heart goes out to all of the people in need all around the globe, I realize that I can only do so much. I can only help so many people…….

But I can begin making a difference one little day-at-a-time. Perhaps that is why I keep my table open at the café to anyone who wants to sit down and talk. It isn’t much, but it is the least I can do…..

Time for another cup of coffee,






Categories: People Without Faces

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48 replies

  1. Every journey begins with a first step. One small step for man, one huge leap for mankind. One small post there, one loving consequence elsewhere. You have a keen eye and a loving heart.

  2. Great blog. Reminded me of a good novel I read by Mark Gimenez “The Color if Law”.

  3. I can’t imagine how hard her life has been. It’s apparent just how much she loves her child.

  4. Highly interesting read..I enjoy & learn when hearing of other folks life experiences & journey..Which includes their triumphs but more importantly their struggles..The question@ Would I do this type of trade-off for my children’s education? (which , in her case, means better survival in times of high unemployment)

    My response may sound odd or gross..And it would surprise folks who know me because I’m considered intelligent, logical?, conservative..BUT yes IF I were in same situation as the woman in this situation? Without a doubt I’d do it! And with no regrets..No tripping on the cross I’d be bearing or the solitude..And I’m a highly, highly form of chattering, vibing, social butterfly..The core of the matter here is a Mother’s unconditional love..Like no other on the planet that I’ve experienced..As a mother & from my own mother..It is undying, relentless 24/7 lifetime job. From the moment they’re conceived…

    On the flip side of that coin. Isn’t marriage a trade off anyways? Some folks do NOT marry for love..There are many people right here in America ; that have traded marriage for ..well, different things..They won’t admit it; but it happens. Even as a “ticket” to gaining entrance to America..Lets take this one step further..Some men, whether they’ll admit it or not..Feel women often times use SEX , in a marriage(or relationship..) as a trade OFF for money/fame/stability. No different than what your coffee-mate is doing..I love reflecting on things like this! Not sure if wondering about what if’s would be considered healthy..Lol! But I love it..I also love hearing others experiences..Makes me realize how much I have been blessed with..Also makes me realize we’re all so very human..And at the core, all of ours, the strongest feeling that exists is Love..That is the commonality I find that is the same in all of us..Regardless of color, gender, religious beliefs or whatevers..Anyways I am getting far deeper than I intended. Always, always enjoy reading of your coffee-chats with others..2 thumbs UP

    • Bernasvibe,

      Great comment….I know that for many of us it is a tough pill to swallow; marrying a total stranger all for the sake of your child…..but I think you voiced what a lot of mothers would say; they would do whatever it takes to provide for their children. Perhaps there are different avenues that the mother I talked with at coffee could of taken, but I’m not going to condemn her heart; because whether or not she made the best choice; her heart is totally in the right place 🙂

    • Exactly…Truth is none of us know where we’ll walk tomorrow..Took me many moons to not judge others..Including myself! Having said that; many mothers(or parents period..) reading what you’ve written? Probably won’t want to admit they’d do the same IF in the same shoes..Add to that IF given the opportunity! Take into consideration the thoughts I expressed? Are coming from an involved Catholic, Divorced Mom(though we co-raised our sons together) of 3 grown sons in college, daughter of parents still happily married for 51 yrs AND I’ve been purposely practicing celibacy for 3 yrs now..I give that background so one can know where I’m coming from..Is that a choice I’d make given other viable choices? Hecks NO..I’d have to be in confessional booths every single day!! Lawd! However, the question was@Would I do it for my child’s education (or life chances ..) in the same situation? Yes, I would..Actually the only 3 people I’d die for , IF it ever came down to me or them living, would be my sons..It is a heavy topic. All on fronts. I’d have loved to have a conversation with your coffee-mate..Learned to speak English from watching TV..Whoa, that alone is highly interesting to me..Enough so that she could hold a conversation with you? That is no dumb woman; by far. I’ve got to get off this topic & get out to enjoy the sunshine..But as always I’ll be back to read of your next coffee-chat.

  5. Every little thing we do for someone counts, even a smile. It’s all grace. But if everyone were to do one or two of the things on your list…
    I, too, feel for women who have to resort to selling their bodies to feed their children, but what if they didn’t have that as an option?

  6. Strong Content! Firstly, as a mother of six children, my husband fondly calls me “mama bear”–most of my life’s serious decisions have revolved around my children. It may because they have grown within me and then grown up outside of me–but being a mother is my primary calling: God gifted me with treasures to nurture and protect.
    I totally understand what that woman did, and she was pleased to do so for her daughter–it’s her way of showing love, even to the exclusion of herself. Oftentimes I think that this makes Jesus’ own sacrifice easier for moms to understand, not that we’ve ever given up what he did, but that we understand what “sacrificing” is all about: giving up our own welfare for the good of others.
    Finally, I too have been one that has been on my bank’s blacklist–bouncing checks to buy food for the kids, electricity turned off, etc. Though I’ve never been homeless, the mortgage crisis hit me hard and there weren’t enough bandaids to go around. Things are better now, but that little taste opened my eyes. Experience is our best instructor, I believe. The question then is: what do I do with what I know???

    Sparks of thought lead to change. Thank you for your spark.

    Blessings, and Peace.

    • “it’s her way of showing love, even to the exclusion of herself”

      I’ve known a number of mothers who have put off their own interests and desires for their children and I admire all of them

  7. “Sometimes, all it takes to help someone is to offer to babysit their children one night a week for free

    Sometimes, all it takes to really change someone’s life for the better is to help pay for their electric bill one month.

    Sometimes, all it takes to make a difference is to begin being a friend to someone who doesn’t have any friends”

    You are so much on the right track – great suggestions, if we could all bring ourselves to offer small things they would quickly mount up to a much bigger, better thing.
    Enjoy your coffee.

    • And take it from a single mom (of boys whose dad has chosen to have almost no involvement with them) whose eyes teared up reading this, the smallest things can mean the most. Just recognizing the difficulty, not looking past others’ difficulties, is so healing. Not to say that my difficulties are the hardest of anyone’s, by a long shot!!! But it does feel sometimes like people just want to ignore or look past the things that are so hard, right next door. Just looking it in the eye, listening, and having coffee? That’s one of the best things you can do. Bless that woman and her daughter.

    • “it does feel sometimes like people just want to ignore or look past the things that..are right next door”


      Yes, my heart goes out to so many of the people who seem to be overlooked and ignored….it can be heartbreaking at times

  8. I knew a similar woman, a former student of mine. She used to say, “In China my husband was rich, but very mean to me. Here my husband is poor, but very kind to me.” I thought she had traded up at least in the kindness department! But it was hard for her to be so far away from her teenaged son. My grandparents did something similar just after the turn of the last century. My grandmother left Hungary aged 19 and never saw her parents and brother again. That concept boggles my mind. And I cannot really understand the poverty in the old country vs. the hope of prosperity in the new that drives these moves. My life has been soft. No way around that.

    • “my grandmother left Hungary…and never saw her parents and brother again”

      It’s pretty amazing that people have the mental and emotional strength to make tough decisions like that

  9. As long as there is inequality between males and females…men will always be able to BUY and SELL women. As long s women cannot make enough money to support themselves and/or their children, they will sell their bodies to MEN who continue to have more power over them because of the way our world is run. The misery comes from one thing…women are not ALLOWED to make enough money as men so that they can be free to take care of themselves. As long as this situation continues to exist women will be bought and sold. If the woman you spoke to was allowed to take care of herself she would have been home working and sending her daughter to school. They could have been happy as a family and she wouldn’t have been sitting at your table talking to you. THAT’S what needs to change, not helping people out. Massive changes in the status quo are the only thing that will stop these atrocities from taking place but men have the power and they want women under their feet so they can buy and sell them so don’t hold your breath for any positive action coming to your town soon.

  10. We will all do what ever we can for our child. There are luckily enough people who risk everything for a good life for their child. But it should be those left behind who should be ashamed they let a child have to go through this. That there is nobody helping that person in her own country. These people should be ashamed of their social skills and child care skills.
    Even more so ashamed when it is al political.
    Lets do what we can. all together and pay it forward.

  11. The sacrifices parents will make for their kids can often be astounding. That’s truly great parenting though. I would just through out a little different perspective – on occasion – it’s really better when the dad does disappear from a child’s life. I say this because that dad may turn out to be a major creeper and that’s not someone you want in a child’s life. I know at least one mom in my world who truly wishes the sperm donor would just move and never return. He causes more harm by being a sort-of dad (along with a litany of other MAJOR concerns) than if he would just be absentee. That situation is extreme of course and probably not the norm, I’m just saying there are times when it’s better when that one parent (even moms) is absentee. I also wholeheartedly agree that more often than not, it’s about the little things that make the most difference in life. We just don’t always get to see the result.

  12. In America, right now Kenneth, many woman are paying their bills with prostitution. Some are very happy about it, while others grit their teeth through it. We have woman from all walks of life doing this that are employed. Teachers, police officers, fast food workers, clerks, secretaries, you name it. The modern prostitute is sitting right next to or socializing with a lot of people and often the people have no clue. People often assume that prostitutes are dumb, desperate, impoverished woman. In today’s America, it could be as simple as a young college girl needing money for a trip, some new clothes, or the latest Iphone. A lot of Trophy wives are married prostitutes even though they resent that term. I agree that it is sad for those who absolutely do it to survive, but a lot of woman today do it purely for additional materialistic gain, especially the ones who know they command a price. As one man said on a t.v. show I watched regarding the subject,”There are woman for everyone. Some are the Wal-Mart model and some are the Ferrari’s and Bentley’s.”

  13. A mothers last resort is to sell her body in order to feed her child . . . marriage may make it easier, but not necessarily, it was a huge gamble on the woman’s part.

    I don’t go out of my way to help anybody, but it seems I always have somebody to help . . . be kind, it’s magnetic.

  14. This post simply reminds me that everyone has a story and who are all in this together. This is great Kenneth. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. An emotional story that unfortunately happens alot, its. Suprising what a mothers love can turn a blind eye to, thanks for sharing and caring

  16. Reblogged this on Eucharistimatic and commented:
    This blog is quickly becoming my addiction–next to my own cup of coffee. ENJOY!

  17. I mention my “special friend” a lot when I write. I feel for him because he is working his ass off for the sake of his children. One of which he recently found out wasn’t even his. He is not married to the mother and from what I’ve gathered (from others) is she is a lazy manatee (but that is insulting to the manatee). Anyway, all that to say is he is doing his damn best to be a father to his children, but because he doesn’t want to be with a mentally and physically abusive woman anymore, she turns his children against him. She has even stole money from him. He is worn out an is not getting any younger. The children think he is mean because when he comes home from working two jobs the house is a mess so he has to do that too.

    Here’s the kicker. If he leaves, she is going to rape him for child support, and she even told him so. I have offered my home to him and the children but with my medical condition he doesn’t want to put that burden on me. He wants to do it “on his own”. I Love him so all I am left to do is pray for him and be as uplifting for him as I can be.

    There is so much more to his story, and it saddens me because all he was initially trying to do was rescue a woman who he THOUGHT was pregnant with his child leave an abusive relationship and wound up in one himself.

    I don’t even know why I told you all of this except to say SOME women ain’t shit, beware of who you procreate with, and what looks like ain’t always.

    With tears in my eyes,

    • Yep, there are exceptions to the stereotype.

      One of my childhood friends died young as a single dad. Not only would the mother have nothing to do with him OR her son, the poor boy had the tragic misfortune to find his father dead. My friend’s mother, who had been my den mother in Cub Scouts, had been helping him raise him, because he worked a lot of hours as a social worker. I was not able to attend the funeral, but my folks filled me in on what was happening. I said something like “I bet you dollars to donuts she [the deadbeat mom] will come out of nowhere and try to claim custody.”

      She did. Fortunately, I happened to catch up with my old Cub Scout den mom and ask about how things went. Mercifully, she had won custody. She also said that she had received my card, and that it meant a lot. I expressed further condolescences, because since my friend’s death, she also unfortunately lost her other two sons as well.

      I know of other examples, people I know personally in some way, but, this was one of the sadder stories.

    • Jesus…I just have to keep praying

    • What was helpful for me was to realize that my friends endured. They knew I cared. They knew that I cared about children– whether it was before I got married and had children, or after.

      I am inspired to continue caring. The road is still hard– my wife and I know we’ve endured hardship that might break up other families. But we are determined to continue to care, about ourselves, and others. Such I feel is what my Master would wish me to do.

    • I think your friend should find a way to record or film what is happening, if he can, without being obvious. And I also think he should keep a daily diary so that what happens is written for evidence should it be needed.

  18. All of your recommendations on helping those who struggle financially are very good and if you can do that, you should. This is especially difficult during the holiday season. But, struggling financially can offer something that all but seems forgotten in this day and age…and that is thoughtfulness and help.

    I remember one year being so broke that I could not afford to buy any Christmas presents. So, I went and bought some very nice parchment paper and a “fake” calligraphy pen and proceeded to write very pretty coupons redeemable for (fill in the blank). I was truly surprised at how well they went over…and it made me feel good too.

    • This was a reply to ‘peacefulblessedstar’ re: predicament of “special friend,” but my reply went in elsewhere.

  19. You’ve got me curious, how do you “keep your table open” in such a way that attracts people to open up to you as they seem to do?

  20. Reblogged this on The Recondite Raconteur and commented:
    This is an excellent blog post! The title belies the true point of the article, so please, read on in spite of your lack of interest in mail order brides.

    In my estimation, the most important part is the last few paragraphs. Read and take them to heart!

  21. Even the smallest gesture can mean the world to someone else. Thanks for posting this!


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