Monday, December 16, 2013

Philomena (the movie)

I recently viewed a movie called Philomena. The movie begins with Philomena, now in her seventies, enlisting the help of noted journalist Martin Sixsmith to help find her son. Partly told in flashback, Philomena, who gave birth to a son in a Catholic convent in the 1950's in Ireland, could do nothing to stop the nuns from adopting her toddler son out to a wealthy, Catholic, American couple. She would spend five decades looking for him, in the hopes that he had lived a good life. And yes, she does find her son--with unexpected results.

The movie is based on the book Martin wrote, "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee".  The story is reminiscent of many young women--not just young, teenaged Irish women--who were forced to place their young children up for adoption with no options of keeping the children and who have always wondered what had become of their children. 

As genealogists, we sometimes meet these women, now older, wanting to find their children.  We also meet the children--now adults--wanting to know about their biological parents. In fact, I have a client whose half-sister wants to know about her biological father. Fortunately, I was able to "find" her father--now deceased--but I found a lot of information about him to answer her questions. It's not always easy to answer the questions and find the information asked for by those who have gone through the adoption process. And it can be a challenge for genealogists to find those answers.

The movie is emotional, but well done. Judi Dench does a wonderful portraying Philomena.

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