After ‘Philomena’s’ Success, Real Philomena Lee Pushes for Adoption Rights

Initiative seeks to reunite parents and children separated by forced overseas adoptions

Thanks in part to the success of Stephen Frears’ Oscar-nominated drama “Philomena,” the real Philomena Lee (whom Judi Dench portrayed onscreen) has found a platform to potentially initiate legislative action.

Lee visited elected officials, including Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen. Chris Murphy, in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to discuss her new initiative to reunite Irish parents and their children separated by forced overseas adoptions. Lee spent almost five decades searching for her son, who was sold into adoption against her will by the Catholic Church. Her story inspired the Weinstein Company-distributed film, which was recently nominated for best picture at the Oscars.

Created by Lee, her daughter Jane Libberton and the Adoption Rights Alliance, the Philomena Project aims to prevent similar incidents by opening adoption records.

“I’ve been so moved by the support we’ve gotten, both for telling our story and for bringing attention to this horrible experience that so may of us had,” Lee said in a press release. “In recent weeks and months, we’ve received an outpouring of support from across the globe, and now we’re harnessing that support to create positive change for families in Ireland and the United States. I’m proud and honored to be a part of this, because it is my hope that every mother and child who want to be reunited are able to come together once again.”

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