LOS ANGELES, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Philomena Lee, whose search for the son taken from her for forced adoption as a toddler is the subject of the Academy Award nominated feature film "Philomena" was honored Tuesday (Feb. 11) by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti with a Certificate of Recognition for her compassionate campaign to aid 2000 other women dealing with the same tragedy. "I am proud to welcome Ms. Philomena Lee to Los Angeles," he stated in the proclamation, "I am inspired by her story. We hope that this recognition helps in some way to raise awareness of the issue of forced adoptions and to shine a light on the past to open the way for healing of so many mothers and their lost children."
The mayoral acknowledgment comes on the heels of the Irish nurse's private audience last week with His Holiness Pope Francis regarding the launch of her charity, The Philomena Project, which calls on the Irish government to enact legislation to open up adoption records and reunite mothers separated from their children as result of such forced adoptions, some for as long as 50 years, as was the case for Mrs. Lee. Mayor Garcetti's representative, Daniel Tamm, made the formal presentation.
The humane crisis was brought to world attention in past months via the Oscar and BAFTA nominated film on her story based on Journalist Martin Sixsmith's investigative book. The adapted screenplay by Steven Coogan and Jeff Pope is presently nominated for the Academy Award as well and earned the screenplay award at the Venice Film Festival. Mrs. Lee, seeing the opportunity to assist other mothers, has generated worldwide support for the cause. In 1952, when Philomena Lee became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland, she was sent to a "mother and baby home" to be taken care of. But it proved to be a forced labor situation, and when her son was three, he was taken away, sold for adoption and sent to America.
Mayor Garcetti's proclamation also honored Mrs. Lee for her lifelong effort to help others and for her bold effort, through The Philomena Project, to right wrongs and achieve justice in adoptive issues. Her effort to liberate these records of adoption have been supported by top American activists, including Ethyl Kennedy, widow of Robert F. Kennedy and a leading force in the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, who said, "Through her heroic efforts to united mothers and children separated by cruel practices and archaic laws, Philomena is helping make gentle the life of the world."
SOURCE The Philomena Project