July 25, 1998 Encounters International celebrated its fifth anniversary. Many couples and EI single clients gathered in Bethesda to celebrate the triumph of love, happiness and joy of parenthood over loneliness and frustration. John Bell, one of the EI long time clients and attorney said:
" I would like to congratulate Natasha Spivack and her lovely beautiful assistant Inna Sorokina on five years of the enterprise. Certainly the enterprise couldn't be a better enterprise than making American men happy. I can't think of anything closer to my heart than making American men happy. Certainly I see a group of happy people here. I enjoy my relationship with these two ladies. They always have good advice, they always have time, they're always trying to protect the best interest of their clients, namely us. Certainly there would be a void in many of our lives without them"
Who is who. Washington Business Times (7/21/98):
From a small Bethesda-based
local company, in five years Encounters international became a leader in personalized
international matchmaking, with 178 happy couples living in 31 states of the
United States, the Virgin and Marshall islands and clients from as far as Japan,
the United Kingdom, Finland and Canada. On-line database, EI client-exchange
electronic message board and annual Open House events allow clients and couples
to feel connected and belonging to one extended family. On the record:
Encounters International is the only service in the matchmaking industry which
guarantees clients' engagement within one year. EI's success rate is close to
100 percent and its divorce rate -- 117 marriages and four divorces only --
beats the national average in most countries"
Question # 1 from a prospective client: Do Russian women get married just to come to America and then they find somebody else and leave?
"All my expectations were met... I am very happy. Our daughter Alina is an extremely beautiful and smart girl. She likes to dance and wants to be a ballerina. She the best evidence of the results of your service". Olga Howlin.
When Tom Howlin called Encounters International in September of 1993 one of the first questions he asked: "How many couples got engaged in EI? ", the answer was "None". " How many clients do you have now?" -- "Two clients since the time we opened in July." "What are your hours?" - "Saturdays and Sundays all day long and every weekday evening after my regular [paying] job ".
Tom was one of the first brave risk takers who decided to do it anyway. A lot of money has been spent in the fruitless dating... but there is always hope. This time hope came from far away Russia.
In December of 1993 Tom went to Moscow. He was overwhelmed with everything what happened to him and wrote to me: "Any single guy with the desire and financial resources to get married who doesn't use your service is nuts." Tom and Olga will celebrate their 5th anniversary in March. Their daughter Alina was the first baby born in the EI big family of clients. Laurel Leader wrote an article on how they met.
Question # 2 from a prospective client: What is the age difference that Russian women would accept?
All I can say is that I am glad that Irena found me. And I am very happy. Oliver Beale
Oliver Beale who is going to be 60 this year found out about a 29 year old Irena Shumilova from Moscow when she wrote "unsolicited" letter to him after seeing his photos and profile in the E I clients photo album in Moscow office Needless to say, Oliver was flattered. Irena met his age criteria -- he wanted a younger woman -- but he was not sure if she would agree to support him, a free lance artist. That was his second criteria of an ideal woman whom he hoped to meet when he joined EI. Irena did not fail his expectations in this respect either. The first week after her arrival in Maryland on a fiance visa she earned $90 and proudly paid her share of the couple's expenses. Among EI couples Oliver and Irena Beale are the couple with the largest age difference. They also were introduced at EI anniversary party as the most recently married couple. The Washington Times photographed them for the cover of its Business section featuring Metropolitan Washington dating scene.
Question # 3 from a prospective client: Do Russian women tend to be more traditional and more family oriented?
The first year is like dating... After the first year it settles real good. It is going to be 3 years as of December and next month we have a little boy coming -- Sammy's little brother. And they will be able to talk in Russian, although I won't know what a hell they will be talking about. Robert Rosin.
Robert Rosin had never been married before he joined EI. He is Jewish and he was looking for a Jewish woman. He found her in EI. Robert and Kristina Rosin are the first EI couple who -- in less than a month -- will enjoy the parenthood of their second baby boy. What else can be a better proof of a happy and secure relationship? The fourth member in the Rosins family will bring the statistics on the number of children born in EI families to 22. By the way, 18 of them are girls. Robert, keep doing a good job:) We need more males in our service.
Question # 4 from a prospective client: Do I have to go to Russia to meet Russian women?
I can't be any happier. I've had the advantage of a personal contact. We have a lot of quality time together and I am looking forward to going to Russia with her some day soon. Alec Gomez.
Alexander Gomez stopped his correspondence and changed his travel plans when he met Jennia Reznikova, a Russian student in a Virginia college who joined EI in Bethesda. Alec and Jennia are engaged now and Jennia moved to Georgia. Alec is the third EI client who did not have to go to Russia to meet a Russian woman. He met her " just around the corner", but being an EI client helped.
Question # 5 from a prospective client: Will I meet other women when I go to Russia or Ukraine?
My number one choice turned bad and I am glad now because it helped me to meet my true love. Norman May.
Norman May met his wife three days before the end of his trip to Kiev and
spent three hours with her. The next day they spent together and would have
spent the following day together too if he did not have to depart. Elena came to
the airport to say "Good bye", but not for ever. She said "yes"
when Norman proposed to her in a letter a few days later and their wedding was
EI Open house '98 in February. Norman
and Elena May is the EI couple who had the shortest courtship period.
Question # 6 from a prospective client: What if it takes longer than one year to find the right woman? I am very picky.
I went to Moscow without great expectations. It would be nice to meet her I thought, but who knows... it would be nice tourism. I got off the airplane and saw her. I was very pleased. I thought : "My God, I could marry this woman!" And then several years later that actually happens!"
Malcolm Brenner, PhD was a 49 year old bachelor at that time joined Encounters in 1994. He traveled to Moscow to meet Alina Veselova, a 27 year old PhD candidate and medical researcher. They got engaged. Being bright and analytical by nature both of them tried to "dissect" the relationship and their future life together in the letters that they exchanged after their engagement. They got "disengaged" as a result of it. After the initial disappointment Malcolm decided to try again. He began contacting EI women a year later and was ready for a second trip to meet another Moscow woman. He did meet her just to realize that his feelings to Alina never changed and were deeper than he expected. So he couldn't help but call her when in Moscow. They met again and the initial attraction to each other took over. Malcolm came back to to Washington and announced that he was engaged or rather "reengaged" to the same woman he met over a years ago. When she came to Malcolm on a fiance visa her parents in Russia got seriously sick and she had to leave Malcom and return to Moscow. After the crisis was over there were only a few days left for Alina's 3 month fiance visa before it would expire. Malcolm did almost the impossible -- he arranged a fiance reentry permission for Alina. She came to Dulles airport in Washington the same day when her visa would expire. They had just a few hours to get married in order to avoid the problems of expired visa status. And indeed they did it. Over all it took almost three years but it was worth it!
Question # 7 from a prospective client: How long does it take to find a Russian woman?
I like your email ending statement about making decisions
[Research has consistently shown that those who succeed tend to make
decisions rapidly and are slow to reverse them. Conversely, people who fail
usually decide slowly and change their minds frequently...] as
this also fits in my personal philosophy. I have decided that I want to start
a romance and begin a family, and my research from Russian friends supports that
I may find an appropriate soul mate in this part of the world.
That came from an e-mail Mack Leathurby sent to me in response to receiving EI initial package. Elena Naumkina had the same philosophy. In less then a month after Mack became a member and wrote the first letter to Elena I went to Moscow. Elena came to the office to ask my opinion about Mack and a few other clients who had been corresponding with her much longer. I remembered this reference of his and said that although he was a new client but if he lives by what he says she should look no further. Elena's eyes were shining with joy. Early next morning the telephone in my Moscow apartment woke me up with persistent short overseas rings. It was Mack asking to arrange his trip to Moscow to see Elena... Next time I saw them both -- happily married -- at EI Open House. "He came, He saw, He won..." kept repeating itself in my head each time I saw their happy faces.