Imagine being an erratic 18 year old kid with no money and a baby on the way. This is exactly what happened to Heidi Russo Allen who we know as the birth mother of former NFL Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. To make matter worse, the father wanted nothing to do with the kid. It was the 80s and with limited choices given to her, she went with the idea of adoption. You can’t imagine the trauma a teenage mind had to suffer when she had to give up her first chld when he was just 6 weeks old. Born out of wedlock, Colin is the story of many Afro-Americans whose parents just leave their kids stranded when they simply can’t raise them.
Fast forward to present day, Heidi is yet to meet her oldest son who keeps his distance from Russo. Colin is a former NFL Quarterback who played for San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2016. But more importantly, he is controversially popular for introducing “Taking the Knee during the national anthem.” The gesture directly pointed toward systemic racism and police brutality on black.While Colin’s foster parents were all in for the support of their kid, Russo had contradicting views about the incident.
Russo is often victim of backlash receiving from Kaepernick’s fans in Twitter where she is never afraid to voice her opinion. Heidi has also opened up about her adoption journey through few interviews and recently through her youtube channel. So, here we dig deep into the life of Heidi Russo-Allen
Heidi as a Child had to go through her Parent’s Ugly Divorce
Heidi and her two siblings had to witness a gruesome separation of their parents according to Heidi in her Youtube Channel. As per Heidi she knew that it was coming as tensions were flaring for quite some time due to business issues and other personal ones. She opened up about her own personal struggles during that time. She accepts that she was completely against verbal shots fired at her dad by her mother’s camp. She was really close to her dad and it was a little too over the line for her.
Her mother got the kids custody and that’s where things probably got hard for her according to Russo. She would rarely meet her dad and not having him during her teenage period was probably the turning point.
During that time, he was trying to get his life together, my mom was trying to move on with her, it was a hard time so that just affected me that way. So what do you do? You seek out approval from boys your own age, she said.
Russo had her first Abortion when she was a Junior in High School
Heidi was a junior when she met her first boyfriend. They went to the same school and they went to Junior Prom. And, that’s where she first got pregnant. In her video she revealed how she didn’t had any money so she had to borrow money from her friend to get the abortion. She went on to say that the boy’s parents looked down on her as they perceived her to be from a broken family. And, after dating for a while the two went their separate ways.
Heidi Russo Allen Gave Up On Colin in 1987, Decision She Regrets Till This Date
Born in 1969, Heidi was just 19 when she had Colin Kaepernick who went on to become one of the most influential players in the NFL. Just like many relationships, Russo’s partner and Colin’s father at that time fled from the scene the moment he knew about Russo’s pregnancy. She only had herself to take care of her newborn. She raised him for just 6 weeks when she finally decided to abandon her kid for a better life, the life she could never be able to give him. Talking to Fox Sports about the situation, she said it was the toughest decision she ever had to make and commented:
“It was the toughest decision I ever had to make. But for him it was the right decision. I was in a situation that wasn’t planned, certainly I wasn’t in a position to give Colin the life I want him to have.”
However, she said that she was blessed to have Rick and Teresa Kaepernick as his guardians.
Heidi And Colin were Once Through Emails
In the same interview with Fox Sports, Heidi revealed that she couldn’t distance herself entirely from her child. She told the outlet that she continuously kept in touch with Teresa and Rick after the adoption. But soon the letters and messages became rare as it was putting her life on hold. She said:
“I couldn’t move forward with my life. I would wait for her letters. I’d wait for a lot of things like pictures, it was really hard.”
Until 2016, Heidi hooted for her kid from the sidelines or through her TV set. And, although she has met Rick and Teresa, she is yet to meet Colin personally.
However, this hasn’t stopped Colin and Heidi from exchanging emails. In a series of back and forth email conversations, Colin asked Heidi about the identity and whereabouts of his biological father. But she had no answer to it as his father had been a mere ghost after Russo’s pregnancy.
Russo Criticized Colin for Taking the Knee
Kneeling down was again revived adding a massive wave of protests all over the U.S after the live death of “George Floyd.” Many celebrities joined the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Till this date, all the football (Soccer) players before the start of the game, do the kneeling with black lives matter printed on their shirts.
And, it’s all down to the gesture introduced by Colin in 2016. To show his protest against police brutality, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem before their game against Green Bay Packers.
He expressed his grief through his tweets:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
While many came to his support, his move was equally criticized by many. The likes of then Presidential candidate, ‘Donald Trump’ even going as far as calling the NFL hierarchy to fire the Kneelers.
“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe you shouldn’t be in the country,” Trump said.
Among the millions of criticizers, one was Colin’s own birth mother, Heidi Russo.
She felt dejected by the sheer event. And was quick to show her distaste through series of tweets pointing at Colin.
She received quite a backlash for her tweets from Colin’s fans. Some even calling her out for giving up. But she explained how she wasn’t opposing the cause but the process. Russo and Teresa both agreed that Colin was committing career suicide.
After the Floyd death incident, the ongoing fight against racism was re-ignited. And, WestWord caught up with Heidi to get her opinion about the incident that was raised by her kid years ago.
“I completely support and agree with what his protest is all about, and I always have,” Russo said. “I just never agreed with the manner in which he chose to do it. There are other ways he could have done it instead of kneeling while he was playing football.”
She further went on to defend her view by saying:
“If I were to go to the hospital and protest about something I believed in, I would no longer have a job.”
Heidi is a Registered Nurse by Profession
After giving up her kid in her teens, Heidi turned it around with her life. According to her Linkedin profile, Heidi went to the University of Wisconsin where she studied a bachelor of science in nursing. She has served as an Intensive Care Unit nurse for more than 15 years in SCL Health, Colorado. Russo currently works at Rocky Mountain Heart Institute. Her expertise lies in electrophysiology patients pre and post ablation, DCCV and cardiac device procedures. Simultaneously she also works as On Call Hospice RN in Compassus. Before that she served as a cardiac nurse in the Cardiovascular Lab of SCL Health in Lafayette, Colorado for nearly 7 years.
Russo has also worked as a hospital supervisor in the past. Apart from serving the patients, she is also involved with a group called “Linked Thru Love.”
She has set up this advocacy group in association with Jami Marcantonio. This group focuses on raising awareness about the concept of adoption and ending stereotypes related to birthmothers. Likewise, Russo has also co-founded a non-profit organization named “Three Strands.” This organization works on empowering birth mothers.
Heidi doesn’t want any Part of Colin’s Fame or Money
Now many may speculate that Heidi is jumping the bandwagon because of the rise in fame of her son, Colin. But that’s not the case at all. She has clearly told in various interviews that she isn’t after his money. In fact, when Colin was 7 she took a big step and asked Kaepernicks to stop sending her pictures of Colin because it was too painful for her. She simply cared a lot about her child.
“Colin has made his wishes very clear, and I’m just respecting his wishes. For 26 years, it’s a journey of pain of loss. And that doesn’t change. It might lighten, but it doesn’t change,” Russo said.
In a guest post on America Adopts she said over the years, she has grown, changed, and healed but the pain doesn’t go away from her.
“As much as I believed over the past 26 years that my heart healed after placing Colin in Rick and Teresa’s arms, I’ve come to realize there will always be a piece missing. There isn’t a day that goes by, if even for a second, that Colin doesn’t cross my mind.”
She simply wants to reignite her relationship with her long-lost baby boy. That’s all.
Heidi Russo is Married and has Three Kids of her own
Currently, Heidi Russo is living in Denver with her husband Heath Russo. The couple is together parents to three children named Michael, Ethan, and Alex. In her twitter handle, she describes herself as Wife, mom to Michael, Ethan & Jett, Cardiac Nurse, Birthmom of Colin, love God, family, and football in that order.
Sports probably runs in the blood of Heidi as all three kids are in the youth setup of their respective sports teams. Michael who is the oldest son of Heath and Heidi is on the baseball team of Bandits. Russo is often supporting her kid’s triumph from the sideline or through her Facebook posts and tweets.
Colin Considers Teresa as his Mother
Heidi’s son Colin was just a few months old when she gave him for adoption. While Heidi always hoped of being in touch with Colin, Colin doesn’t consider her as a part of his life. Raised by foster parents Teresa Kaepernick and her husband, Colin has always considered Teresa as his mother. When asked about his mother in interviews, he always addresses Teresa and explains how she chose him and stood by his side through every thick and thin. He never fails to express how lucky he feels to get Teresa as his mother.
In 2018, Colin honored his mother Teresa in VH1’s Mothers Day Special ‘Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Moms‘. He gave an emotional speech mentioning how his biological mom abandoned him and Teresa was the one who decorated his life with happiness.
Heidi is Always Tweeting About or to Her Son Colin
Whether it’s about taking a dig at Colin’s national anthem protest or supporting ‘Black Lives Matter’, Russo is always tweeting about those things in her Twitter account. Russo is among those who express their thinking in the media through tweets and stands strong on their take. Recently, she has tweeted about George Floyd’s murder that took place in the USA in the name of racism. Through her Twitter account, she urged people to come together and seek justice for George.
Apart from tweeting about the ongoing issues, she also follows her son Colin on his Twitter profile. She longs for a deeper relationship with him and often comments on his Twitter profile, but Colin seems reluctant to build a relationship. She regularly congratulates him on his success in the matches and his takes on issues.
In January 2011, when Colin tweeted about his body fat, Russo quickly responded on his diminishing body fat.
‘Body fat just taken and I am 7%…Let’s see where I end at.’
His birth mom Heidi quickly responded and commented:
Wow!!! Probably 4 or 5%? Keep working hard Colin!
Moreover, most recently on May 31, 2020, when Colin was supporting the protest on George Floyd’s death, she requested him to not support the violence and continue the protest with peace. While Colin didn’t reply, she faced a strong backlash from Colin’s supporters for her controversial tweet.
Heidi Chose ‘The Kaepernicks’ for two Specific Reasons
In the latest video of her Youtube series, she talks about two specific reasons why she selected Rick and Teresa. She mentions that the Kaepernicks were stable and they were looking for a biracial baby. Also, one of their family members had adopted a bi-racial baby, so she thought it wouldn’t feel like an identity crisis for Colin when he grows up.
She also reveals how she felt relieved to have such a wonderful family looking after Colin.
Who is the Birth Father of Colin Kaepernick ?
Colin Kaepernick was born on 3rd November 1987 to Heidi Russo. There’s not much information available about his biological father except from what we have heard directly from Heidi. In her recent video, she recalls dating a guy named ‘Jeff,’ which of course is a pseudo name. According to her, he was the brother of her friend’s boyfriend. He was 28 and she was 18 at the time and it was instant attraction for Heidi. She was wrong footed by his charm. And the rest is history. Till this date, we know nothing about Colin’s biological father but Rick has always been there for his kid.
Why Heidi Russo Abandoned Colin?
Heidi during various interviews was clear on why she had to give up on her first child. She was just 19 and Broke!
After discussing with her parents and the screening options she had, she decided to give up the baby. She discusses about her adoption process in this video.
She wanted Colin to have the best life possible that she thought she wasn’t capable of giving at that time. But there was certainly an underlying reason behind this big decision.
This was still the 80’s. It was the time when having an interracial affair or a kid was considered a stigma. The father of the kid had left, she was scared to death, and everything was a mess. And let’s not forget she was just nineteen and probably didn’t get the backing from her parents which she clearly expresses in her latest Youtube video. Without any financial help and no proper direction, she probably thought it was best for her and the kid to be adopted by a responsible caretaker.
Internet is a mess when it comes to Colin and Heidi. Heidi has always been kept under scrutiny for trying to grab her moment of frame. But let’s be real. We were never in her shoes so it’s hard to come up with a judgment. It’s hard for any mother to give up on her child and she is no different. Still, on this date she considers that moment to be one of the toughest decisions. To this date, she is trying to reconcile with Colin. And the string of hope is getting weak as the days pass by.
We hope she meets her son after all he is her bloodline!