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Woman who gave him up for adoption still supports Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick AP

There are many 49ers fans who would love a moment of contact with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

But the one with the deepest, yet most tortured connection is Heidi Russo, his biological mother who gave him up for adoption.

When she watches him from the stands, she hopes that one day, they can again meet.

“Then the other half of me calms me down and I just sit there and cheer like the rest of the people,” Russo told Yahoo’s Jason Cole. “I kept looking at him, thinking our eyes might meet. He might finally see me. I kept thinking it happened, but he never came to see me after the game.”

For his part, Kaepernick hasn’t sought out contact, and Russo said she respected his decision.

But she has also met with Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, the couple she turned her baby over to six weeks after he was born.

“I knew they were the right people immediately,” said Russo. “The first thing Teresa did when she met me was give me a hug. They were such giving, wonderful people from the moment I met them.”

They also set the stage for Kaepernick to grow up in a comfortable, two-parent home which the then-19-year-old Russo could not.

“I know I couldn’t have given Colin everything he needed growing up,” Russo said. “But I ask myself a lot of the time, ‘Would loving him have been enough?’ . . .

“You can see that everything he wants and everything he has worked for is coming together. That’s something that any parent would be happy to see for their child.”

Kaepernick has avoided commenting on his biological mother, although he avoids commenting too deeply on most things since becoming the 49ers starting quarterback.

And if he never wants to meet, Russo said she’d understand that too.

“Yes, there’s always that, but I just stay positive for him,” Russo said. “That’s what is important. That’s what you’re supposed to do as a parent.”

That’s what the Kaepernick family did for him years ago, along with raising him in a manner Russo could not. And for now, that’s where he prefers to leave it, while Russo cheers quietly at a distance.

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60 Responses to “Woman who gave him up for adoption still supports Kaepernick”
  1. wearewhowethoughtwewere says: Dec 6, 2012 1:36 PM

    I’m sure this lady should be commended for recognizing the fact she couldn’t support a child, and giving up for adoption to a family that could support him.

    But….

    It really comes across as self-aggrandizing that she has to be yapping her trap to the media about it.

    You gave up the kid. Didn’t want him. And now want to be in his life now, after his adopted parents have already done the heavy lifting.

    Get a clue.

  2. savocabol1 says: Dec 6, 2012 1:36 PM

    Right or wrong, people are going to think she is looking to get a piece of his million dollar pie now.

  3. mn1bjb says: Dec 6, 2012 1:37 PM

    I can’t imagine being in Colin’s shoes. Dude has got to be conflicted.

  4. seabronco says: Dec 6, 2012 1:38 PM

    Weird, you would think that if she really wanted to meet him she would have tried before he got into the NFL? Oh wait….

  5. skeebo80 says: Dec 6, 2012 1:38 PM

    First tattoos now this. Sure hope he can concentrate on football. Maybe he can work something out with her later IF HE WANTS.

  6. ken0west says: Dec 6, 2012 1:38 PM

    I think its fair to ask what her level of interest would be if he worked at the local BK.

  7. bengalsucker says: Dec 6, 2012 1:39 PM

    Not sure I’d like that as the parents who took him in. Who’s to say this lady would be around had he not turned out to be a QB in the NFL. It could be taken that she’s now coming around in hopes that he’d want to see her therefore she’d benefit from his career. I hope that’s not the case but we didn’t hear this story about her until he took over with the 49rs and is playing at a very high level. It’s looking like he’s the future of the franchise (at that position anyway) and she may want to take advantage of that. I hope he takes that into consideration and remembers who took him in and gave him the life he has had.

  8. fitzmagic1212 says: Dec 6, 2012 1:39 PM

    his real mother is the one who held him when he cried and took care of him his whole life..

  9. trevshyeah says: Dec 6, 2012 1:40 PM

    As one of thousands of people who don’t know one or both of their birth parents, I find what this woman is doing to be appallingly crass and manipulative. The man has clearly established that he doesn’t want a relationship with her. If she really did respect that, she wouldn’t do press interviews talking about how she quietly watches from the stands.

    You’re not being quiet! You’re telling the whole world about it! The child you either couldn’t have our didn’t want is about to get filthy rich and now you want a piece. Where were you before?

    This is sickening.

  10. myroncopesflask says: Dec 6, 2012 1:41 PM

    I wonder where his biological mother would be if he had grown to become a fireman or pig farmer. Sorry Ms. Russo you gave your child up because you were not able to take care of him. Therefore you gave up the right to be in the light that his new found fame is shining. Please step back into the shadow cast by the parents that were there for him cast while they deservedly stand in that light.

  11. xxwhodatxx says: Dec 6, 2012 1:45 PM

    Now she comes out the woodwork to get some cash. Pathetic.

  12. ppc50 says: Dec 6, 2012 1:45 PM

    His real mother is Teresa Kaepernick, not Ms. Russo. If he wasn’t a well known NFL player, would she have sought him out, grant interviews, and even bring up his name? Nope. Quite frankly Jason Cole of Yahoo should stick to football instead of a personal story that the young man hasn’t brought up and, most likely, doesn’t want to talk about in a public forum. Adoption is a great process with the right parents and it looks like Colin got a couple of excellent ones.

  13. mn1bjb says: Dec 6, 2012 1:47 PM

    @trevshyeah

    I can see how sinister it seems in terms of the timing of it. Perhaps she though the best method to reach out to him was through the media. Who knows her circumstances. I am suspect as you are but we don’t know what is motivating her. Obviously any sensible person is going to be loyal to the people that raised you. At the same time you can’t deny that you’d be curious to meet your biological mother and to understand the circumstances of your adoption. Like I said, dude must be conflicted.

  14. kacapaco says: Dec 6, 2012 1:48 PM

    See, if u got money and fame, even those who have up on you will crawl back to be with you.
    Had this kid been a bad boy with frequent visit to county jail, I can guarantee this woman will keep herself away from anything that links her to him.

  15. tgriffin2012 says: Dec 6, 2012 1:50 PM

    Things happens in everyday life and no one should judge anyone since everybody has diffrent shoes to walk in.

    She felt at the time she could not provide for the baby…she’s not the first one to feel like that I’m sure. Colin seems like a very mature and level head young man, I’m sure when he feels the time is right and when God put it in his heart, he will meet his biological Mother.

    I hope and pray that the day will come because she did give birth to him and let’s forget about football for a minute; think about the times when as a young man he probably had a lot of questions that went unanswered. So hope you guys do meet and heal together.

  16. pats1977 says: Dec 6, 2012 1:51 PM

    Everyone makes mistake and she was only 19 yrs old. What do you say to a child you gave up for adoption? Perhaps, that’s the rationale why she never attempted to meet him.

  17. waxthat says: Dec 6, 2012 1:53 PM

    What you guys fail to realize is she stayed in touch with Mrs. Kaepernick via pictures and letters until Colin was 8 or so. She tried to be a part of his life before he became a qb in the nfl.

    If you don’t know all of the details, don’t make such harsh comments towards a person you do not know.

    @trevshyeah, i feel for you man. I also understand where youre coming from, but to say this is sickening, isnt fair. You do not know her intentions nor do you know anymore about this story than what you just read her on pft.

    Do some research before you all jump to conclusion about someone or their intentions.

  18. horsecore says: Dec 6, 2012 1:54 PM

    Why is this even being reported on/dug up?

    The media is trying too hard…

  19. koloth2012 says: Dec 6, 2012 1:56 PM

    So when a young Shaquille O’Neal was drafted out of LSU by the Orlando Magic and everyone predicted the HOF career he was going to have along with the millions he was going to make, does everyone remember Shaq’s scumbag biological dad coming out of the wood work crying how hurt he was that Shaq was rejecting his attempts at reconciliation. Shaq told the world on the Opera show that his real dad was the Army Sergeant who took him and his mom in supported them (financially and emotionally).

    Welcome to this scumbag club lady.

    While she didn’t go on Opera crying about her lost attempts to reconnect. The fact is she wasn’t there when she needed him (anyone who has had to deal with a crying infant/baby, toddler temper tantrum toddler, troublesome teen knows what I am talking about), why mention your his mother now that your biological son is in a position to make millions?

  20. azarkhan says: Dec 6, 2012 1:58 PM

    So what about the father? What about his responsibilities and failures?

  21. joe2jerry says: Dec 6, 2012 1:59 PM

    If you have read the reports, she has tried to contact Colin long before he was in the NFL. She even went to a nevada game a sat with his parents. It’s Colin who hasn’t reached back other than replying to an email/Facebook type message. Obviously it’s his choice, but we need not demonize the woman either.

  22. ningenito78 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:02 PM

    Tough not to see both sides here and agree. But talking to the media about it…..eh.

  23. tdurdenlives says: Dec 6, 2012 2:05 PM

    I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger…

  24. cynicalvision says: Dec 6, 2012 2:05 PM

    So if I’m an opposing player I’m pretty sure I’m bringing this up during the game to get under his skin.

  25. naes says: Dec 6, 2012 2:08 PM

    Low class of Yahoo! sports to report this.

    Whether or not he wants to meet his birth mother is up to Colin. It’s a private matter. Ms. Russo is not a public figure. Who cares what she thinks?

    Also why is she trying to catch is eye in the stands now? Couldn’t she have done this last year when he was standing on the sidelines holding a clipboard all season.

  26. chris6523 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:11 PM

    I’m going to cut this lady some slack. I have a few family members who were adopted and had virtually no contact with their birth mothers throughout their lives. After they became adults, they did make contact with their birth mothers and have actually developed something of a relationship. It’s easy to be cynical and suggest this lady is just trying to jump on the gravy train now and perhaps that is the case. I’m gonna give her the benefit of the doubt.

  27. blackandbluedivision says: Dec 6, 2012 2:12 PM

    I smell a ESPN 30 for 30.

  28. farmmbig says: Dec 6, 2012 2:17 PM

    Still?

  29. davidschap says: Dec 6, 2012 2:18 PM

    Dumb. Why is this lady even talking or granted an interview? How bout talking to his adopted parents ?

  30. kate773 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:23 PM

    As the first commenter said, I praise her for making what I’m sure was a very difficult, yet very mature decision. She did the right thing for her baby, I wish more women would do that. However, something about her speaking to the press rubs me the wrong way.

  31. ppc50 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:23 PM

    Wax, that’s great that she has been in contact with his parents over the years or even been to a couple of games when he was at Nevada, but he doesn’t want to contact her in person, he has a couple of great parents, the media should not jump on this, and the Yahoo article, as well as the one on this site, should respect that. I don’t think that we are demonizing the mother, as much as questioning why she would conduct an interview when he becomes a starter for a very good NFL team, when she knows damn well that he doesn’t want to deal with it. Colin is being forced into this uncomfortable situation, that he wants avoid, by the press that want to increase revenue through ads, clicks, and views.

  32. myroncopesflask says: Dec 6, 2012 2:24 PM

    If you give a child up for adoption and that child repeatedly declines your attempts to contact him/her do what you did when that child was born…Walk Away!!!

  33. hikohadon says: Dec 6, 2012 2:27 PM

    “Yes, there’s always that, but I just stay positive for him,” Russo said. “That’s what is important. That’s what you’re supposed to do as a parent.”
    _________________

    How would you know?

    I don’t have any problem with making the decision to give your child up for adoption, that’s your decision to make. But if you do, you don’t get to call yourself a parent.

    The fact that she came forward to the media on this NOW… she’s the feel-sick story of the week.

  34. serude27 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:28 PM

    Reminds me of the Water Boy where his dad wanted to re-unite with him after he saw him on the ESPN.

  35. kane337 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:31 PM

    The story doesn’t tell how long she has sought out to meet him. Lets not assume its just been since he got a job in the NFL.

  36. jamesmbell says: Dec 6, 2012 2:31 PM

    Tough situation for any mother, but the one thing Colin could use in forgiving her is the fact that she could have done what many young, poor and scared women do and gotten an abortion. I know when I was 19 and I got a woman pregnant I would have wanted her to do that. I know its not the right thing to admit, but it is true.

  37. jayman35 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:36 PM

    As someone who has been adopted, when I first read Jason Cole’s, I got very upset, and felt what many have expressed, that this woman has no business attempting to force a relationship with her son through the media, which I found both offensive and manipulative. I also firmly believe that this is nobody’s business, and is between he and his mother and not for the news media to exploit. When he chooses to establish a relationship with his mother, if ever, it should be in his own time and under his own terms.
    However, I also recognize that his mother (who I do not think is motivated to make money as others have suggested) is certainly still suffering the pain of having to give up her son for adoption. The fact that she recognized she was in no position to raise a child and that others could provide deserves credit. Too many people who are ill equipped to parent keep their children and end up destroying their lives when they become adults. I really hope the media will leave this story alone and let him deal with this under his own terms.

  38. kane337 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:39 PM

    Did you watch the Ray Lewis “A Football Life” on NFL Network? He grew up without his biological father. Ray wanted to meet him badly and just met him last year. Everyone is different. Maybe one day Colin will want to meet his biological mother. Time will tell.

  39. ddmur says: Dec 6, 2012 2:41 PM

    What is she really trying to accomplish by going public with her wishes? Assuming that she is motivated by nothing other than wanting to establish a relationship with her birth child, is she helping her cause by arguing her case in a way that the entire nation hears her? Is she helping her “son” in his career? The best that can be said of her is that she is so incredibly stupid that she thinks she may be accomplishing something positive. If I were Kaepernick and truly in a quandary as to whether to meet with this woman, her decision to let this become a national story would make my decision easy for me.

    DD

  40. jnova80 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:41 PM

    I’m sure this is a story that Kaepernick wishes would just go away. Seems like something he really doesn’t want to talk/think about, so why keep bringing it up? Oh yeah, the football media loves drama instead of actually talking football.

  41. nesuperfan says: Dec 6, 2012 2:41 PM

    I think she is simply proud of her son.
    She made an excruciatingg decision to give him up, and where he is now bears that out as a good decision. Most biological parents hope their offspring do well, and many want to know how they are. It is only natural. In this case, the kid happens to be famous, and surely some reporter asked her about the situation, rather than her looking for a reporter.
    I hope they meet up, and reconnect. His adoptive mom will always be his mother, but it can’t hurt to have two.

  42. nickdamjanovic says: Dec 6, 2012 2:45 PM

    There’s so much that the Cole article doesn’t and couldn’t possible convey. Neither he nor we have any idea if there’s a backstory that’s different than the one she (Russo) provided. Really not a subject for the rabble (which is us) to be digging into, at least not with the information we have at hand right now.

  43. grndizzle says: Dec 6, 2012 2:46 PM

    I don’t think it’s a money grab, I read the entire article these excerpts came from. She seen him play when he was with Nevada, and they used to exchange text messages. She cared for the kid for the 1st 6 weeks of his life, and wasn’t even considering giving him up for adoption until she was 8 months pregnant. She has an attachment to him whether you agree with her or not.

    She made a decision that was in his best interest, she should be commended for that instead of ridiculed. If he would have grown up in a single parent household in Milwaukee, WI he wouldn’t be where he is today.

  44. lleesman725 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:56 PM

    It is clear that Yahoo and Jason Cole had no regard for Colin while writing this story. Shame on them.

  45. brohamma says: Dec 6, 2012 3:02 PM

    Good points.. but just remember, if she hadn’t have had any common sense then there is a pretty good chance the guy would’ve never made it out of a, tragically, all-to-common situation.

    At least she made sure that the people that would adopt him at 5wks. old had other siblings (their two sons died of heart problems days after they were born before they had a daugheter who survived), were finacially secure and had athletic backgrounds.

    It’s easy to point the finger here but she did the right thing in realizing that she couldn’t support the kid instead of letting him get raised on the streets.

  46. lks311 says: Dec 6, 2012 3:07 PM

    She deserves the benefit of the doubt. She’s no ne’er-do-well. She’s a registered nurse and is, apparently self-sufficient. I don’ think the ache you have for your own blood ever goes away.

    As someone else above said, she could have just had an abortion at 19 and moved on with here life—to the contrary, she found him an excellent, loving home. Eventually, time heals wounds and they will reconcile.

  47. steelerben says: Dec 6, 2012 3:14 PM

    If she truly supported him and had his best interests at heart, there is no way she goes to the media. He is an adult. He has been given the chance to reconnect with her and chosen not to.

    I’m not going to jump to the same assumption as many that it is about the money seeing as how she clearly has a relationship with Colin’s real parents, who by all accounts *do* have his best interests at heart. But there is certainly an element of “shine the spotlight on me, too” that doesn’t sit well.

    If you have reached out to him time and again and he has chosen not to include you in his life, respect it. If you want to keep contact with the Kaepernicks to make sure Colin knows you are available and interested in a relationship, great. Going through the media to try and “reach him” is disingenuous and counterproductive.

  48. davekva72 says: Dec 6, 2012 3:20 PM

    I’m not gonna judge this woman based on one story I see on this website. She was a 19 year old when she gave up her baby. She knew she couldn’t support him, so she gave him to somebody who could. She even made sure she met with the people who would be adopting him, to make sure they were the right people to raise her baby. The fact that she’s stayed in touch with the adopted parents tells me that she would still want to be a part of his life regardless of what career path he took.

    I don’t know how she ended up in touch with whoever interviewed her, but if I had to guess I would bet money that a reporter found her after finding out Kaepernick was adopted. We’re often quick to label people as media seekers, when most times its the media that seeks people out.

  49. stevebanzai says: Dec 6, 2012 3:33 PM

    I’m assuming everyone realizes this “birth mother” story has been written up at least 8-10 times over the last 5 days.

    One of the lines that keeps getting repeated is “Kaepernick hasn’t sought out contact, and Russo said she respected his decision.”

    At what point do writers and media outlets respect the same?

    Talk about media arm twisting and manipulation on Kaepernick!!!

  50. hikohadon says: Dec 6, 2012 3:43 PM

    “If she truly supported him and had his best interests at heart, there is no way she goes to the media. He is an adult. He has been given the chance to reconnect with her and chosen not to.”
    __________________

    Bingo.

    This is between her and Colin, not anyone else.

    I don’t care if the press came to her or she went to the press, she should’ve kept her mouth shut about this publicly. I’m sure that’s what her bio-son would want.

  51. bigbill8517 says: Dec 6, 2012 5:02 PM

    I was adopted and never knew any parents but my adoptive parents. They were my parents. However, I always knew that I was adopted, but it didn’t make any difference. I did have a fear that somebody would come and take me away. I had no desire to find out who my birth parents were. My parents were my parents. I have never had any desire for contact with my biological parents. So, if the child doesn’t make contact, why should this mother come out of the woodwork so publicly? She should contact him through a lawyer to see if it is his desire to see her. Let it be his choice.

  52. Mr. Wright 212 says: Dec 6, 2012 5:29 PM

    She wouldn’t care if he weren’t in the NFL and famous. I know plenty of 19 year olds who stick it out and raise their children. What did she do, get knocked up by an “unsavory” guy and her family forced her to give him up because of it?

  53. chetbrooks31 says: Dec 6, 2012 8:26 PM

    Why do people assume that she has only come forward now? It could be that she has been in contact with Colin’s adoptive parents for many years. I would bet that it is the media who sought her out now for comments….. seriously doubt that she just showed up at CBS one day. Let me be clear, I am not defending this lady, just wondering why everyone always assumes the worst.

  54. simon94022 says: Dec 6, 2012 9:13 PM

    The choice she made was better than aborting her child, and better than trying to raise the boy by herself as an unmarried 19 year old.

    Russo made the gut-wrenching decision to do what was best for her son by letting him be adopted. None of us know anything else about her, but we should at least respect that.

  55. dretwann says: Dec 6, 2012 9:35 PM

    People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. But it is most likely that those raking this woman over the coals do so to make them feel better about their own miserable lives. Taking joy in the notion that someone is worse off than they are. Pretty pathetic if you ask me. What amazes me is the ones who are so against her are likely the same people who support the fire bombing of abortion clinics across the country. You all need to get a grip. You have no idea what she went through to make that decision. As for Colin, he should feel grateful as he could have been one of the hundreds of children murdered each year by their teen moms. He had a mom who made the tough choice of recognizing she couldn’t be the parent he and all children deserve.

  56. barbglad says: Dec 6, 2012 10:31 PM

    How can so many people be so cruel to this mother. I am a birth mother. I have been in groups with others like myself and have known several hundred birth mothers. I have not known one birth mother who did not want to know her child, regardless of the circumstances. If the child is doing well financially or was raised in a rich home it is sometimes worse because that child may look down on his mother. Many birth mothers feel they were lied to and exploited by the adoption process. Most had no idea of the extreme lifelong pain that they would experience. It is natural and normal for her to want to connect with her son. I would only encourage her to speak of her feelings as someone in her situation could enlighten those people like many of those in this blog that have no idea what it is like to lose their child.

  57. edwinmoses says: Dec 6, 2012 10:45 PM

    Who writes these headlines – “Woman who gave him up for adoption still supports Kaepernick.”

    Of course she does, it’s still her birth son. The easy thing would have been to have an abortion. She chose the hard way and what was best for him.

  58. pdxninerfan says: Dec 7, 2012 12:44 AM

    Colin was a star in high school. He was a star in Nevada. Now he’s a star in the NFL. I’m betting this woman has been sought out before, and this article has been written before as well.

    If she is trying to latch on to his fame, then he has probably seen it years ago and the act is getting tiresome, thus he rejects her.

    Perhaps it’s a feeling only adopted children can explain whereby the bond is simply not there. Not my place to comment.

    I definitely side with those that say she should stay out of the media and/or politely refuse to comment.

    But I definitely give her the benefit of the doubt as well based upon only having seen this article. She did a difficult thing and a positive outcome has resulted from it. I hope she is sincere.

  59. forever9ers says: Dec 7, 2012 2:40 AM

    Lets give here some credit for picking the Kaepernicks over three other candidates back in Milwaukee, WI. when she was only 19 years of age, unmarried and likely had no job. If she had kept Colin, with all the life struggles ahead of her, Colin would not have had the support system in place in order to succeed in the form of a steady family life.

  60. kenzblzd says: Jan 13, 2013 8:10 AM

    I disagree with the majority of the responses here. I think that the mothers decision to leave a son to parents that she met and felt could provide him better life should be commended. Personally I would embrace my mother and thank her.

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