The real-life Philomena pushes for change to adoption legislation

(Photo Credit: Office of Senator Claire McCaskill)

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Philomena Lee on Capitol Hill Thursday. (Photo Credit: Office of Senator Claire McCaskill)

Celeb: Philomena Lee, the real-life mother whose 50-year search for her biological son is the basis of the Oscar-nominated film “Philomena.”

Cause: 80-year-old Lee met with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on the Hill to push for changes to international adoption laws.  In 1955 an unwed and teenaged Lee was forced by the Catholic Church to give up her son, Anthony, who was subsequently adopted by an American family from Missouri. The two never saw each other again even though they both searched. Earlier this month Lee launched The Philomena Project, a campaign to grant full access to adoption records that would reunite American adoptees with their biological Irish families.

Scene: Lee looked demure in a long skirt, a black and white patterned cardigan paired with light pink nails. As a crowd of reporters asked questions she handed off the heady policy answers to her daughter, Jane Libberton, and a representative from the Adoption Rights Alliance. But when asked about her time in the United States — her very first visit despite the depiction of a trip to Washington in the film — Lee, who appeared on ABC’s “The View” and might attend the Oscars, lit up. She described her publicity and policy tour as “fantastic” and “hectic,” an experience she “shan’t ever forget.”

Soundbite: “About 8 weeks ago I was an ordinary, quiet housewife,” said Lee. “But I have started something.”

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