For a mother, it’s heart-wrenching to give up your newly born. But, this is what a 19 year old, Heidi Russo had to suffer from when she had to abandon her kid, Colin Kaepernick 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 2020, 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.
And while Colin’s foster parents were all in for the support of their kid, Russo had a contradicting views about the incident. So who is Heidi Russo? And apart from giving birth to Colin, how is Heidi Russo’s relation with her birth son? Here we break everything about the reluctant mother of the former quarterback.
- 1 Heidi Russo Gave Up On Colin in 1987, Decision She Regrets Till This Date
- 2 Heidi And Colin Have Never Met But Were Connected Once Through Emails
- 3 Russo Supports the Stand Colin Took But Criticizes the Process
- 4 Heidi’s Professional Life: She is a Registered Nurse
- 5 Heidi doesn’t want any Part of Colin’s Fame or Money
- 6 Russo is a Family Woman and Mother of Three
- 7 Colin Considers Teresa as his Mother
- 8 Heidi is Always Tweeting About or to Her Son Colin
- 9 Who is Her son Colin Kaepernick ?
- 10 Why Heidi Russo Abandoned Colin?
Heidi Russo Gave Up On Colin in 1987, Decision She Regrets Till This Date
Born on 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 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 Have Never Met But Were Connected Once Through Emails
In the same interview with Fox Sports, Heidi revealed that she couldn’t distant 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 in 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 on 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 Supports the Stand Colin Took But Criticizes the Process
Kneeling down was again revived adding a massive wave of protests all over 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 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 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 million 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 commiting a 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’s Professional Life: She is a Registered Nurse
After giving up her kid in her teens, Heidi turned it around with her life. According to her Linkedin profile, Heidi went to University of Wisconsin where she studied 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 serves as cardiac nurse in Cardiovascular Lab of SCL Health in Lafayette, Colorado.
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.
Russo is a Family Woman and Mother of Three
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 her all three kids are in the youth setup of their respective sports team. Michael who is the oldest son of Heath and Heidi is in the baseball team of Bandits. Russo is often supporting her kid’s triumph from 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.
Who is Her son Colin Kaepernick ?
Colin Kaepernick was born on 3rd November 1987 to Heidi Russo. There’s no information available about his biological father. But the fact is he was raised by foster parents Teresa Kaepernick and her husband Rick in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the age of 4, he shifted to California with his adopted family. While growing up, he garnered interest in sports and started playing football from the age of 8. Football is Kaepernick’s, first love. When he was in the fourth standard, he wrote a letter predicting that he would be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Colin wrote:
‘I hope I go to a good college in football then go the pros and play on the Niners or the Packers, even if they aren’t good in seven years.”
Luckily, his prediction got true as he was selected by San Francisco 49ers in the second round of ‘2011 NFL Draft.” In October 2017 he debuted with the team against ‘Philadelphia Eagles.” In his first season, he played three games as a backup to the team’s starting quarterback Alex Smith. The following month, he took the field as starting quarterback against the team “Chicago Bears.”
He showed an outstanding performance in the game and made a record of 181 yards in their win against the “Green Bay Packers.” Due to his brilliant performance and skills, his contract extended with the 49ers. He extended the contract for six more years on June 4, 2014, signing the deal with $126 million. However, due to some issues with the NFL, he opted out of his contract and is set free from 2017. Colin has stopped playing as a quarterback.
Colin Kaepernick is in a relationship with radio personality and television host Nessa Diab. They are dating since July 2015 and until now there are no rumors of their separation.
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!
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. 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.
We were never on 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, this date she considers that moment to be one of the toughest decisions. Till 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!