San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s birth mother is trying to reconnect with her son after she gave him up for adoption when he was still an infant, according to Yahoo Sports.
Heidi Russo has been watching her son from the stands, hoping for some time he would only look up and recognize the woman who birthed him.
“Then the other half of me calms me down and I just sit there and cheer like the rest of the people,” said Russo, a 44-year-old registered nurse who lives in a suburb of Denver. She went to see Kaepernick play in person for the first time in 2010 when his University of Nevada team played at Colorado State. “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.”
Russo has joy and excitement for her son who she has seen rise to a starting role on a surging San Francisco 49ers club and yet obvious regret as well.
“I watch him now and I see how happy he is and I’m thrilled for him,” said Russo, who said “I have to respect” his decision not to meet.
Russo says that she is pleased to see that all of his hard work is paying off.
“That’s something that any parent would be happy to see for their child,” Russo said.
Russo’s Twitter account profile notes “a very special place in my heart for Colin Kaepernick.”
Kaepernick has exchanged a few messages with her, but most of her tweets have gone unreturned. Kaepernick’s adoptive parents, Rick and Teresa, have said that they are supportive of whatever he wants to do.
“His parents are truly wonderful people,” said Denver Broncos tight end Virgil Green, a teammate and roommate of Kaepernick’s at Nevada. “I’ve been out to dinner with them and you can see the job they did raising him. I think he would view it as almost treasonous to them to meet with his biological mother or father. They did such a great job giving him everything he needed to be successful in life.”
Russo acknowledges she would have had a harder time raising Kaepernick and he might not be where he is today without his adoptive parents.
“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?’ ”
Russo was in contact with the Kaepernick family until Colin was about 7, but the pictures and letters stopped arriving. It wasn’t until Colin went to Nevada that Russo resumed attempts to meet up with her son. Russo has only shared MySpace and Twitter messages with her son, but has yet to meet with him in person. She has only met up with Rick and Teresa since.
“It was like meeting old friends after 25 years,” she said. “You couldn’t ask for better people than Rick and Teresa, how they have loved him and taken care of him. As a parent, you never think that anyone could love your child as much as you do, but they have.”
Russo will keep up hope that she is able to embrace her grown son, but for now she will cheer for him from afar.
“Until he tells me otherwise, I’ll continue supporting him,” said Russo, who watches or records every game Kaepernick plays. “It’s very emotional for me to watch him, especially [when he played against New Orleans] and you could see how happy he was. I just hope and pray for him.”
Follow Marquise Francis on Twitter @mKfly