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Woman who gave him up for adoption still supports Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) comes off the field after a turnover during the second half of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in St. Louis. The Rams won 16-13 in overtime. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)


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.