' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's mother speaks of her love for him--and he can't take it.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's mother speaks of her love for him--and he can't take it.

Colin Kaepernick
Thank you, thank you Heidi Russo for speaking out on behalf of first mothers. And shame, shame on you Colin Kaepernick for not listening. You may be the toughest, cleverest quarterback in years to play for the San Francisco 49ers, but you've fumbled the ball when it comes to accepting love from the woman who gave birth to you. You're getting sacked by your adoptive mother, fearful that somehow having a relationship with your first mother would diminish her.


Kaepernick's first mother Heidi Russo, who was single and 19 when he was born, kept her son for six weeks before placing him for adoption in Wisconsin, believing adoptive parents could do more for him emotionally and financially than she could. After interviewing three couples, she selected Rick and Teresa Kaepernick as the adoptive parents. They sent her letters and pictures but contact ended when when Colin was six. The family had moved to California by then. When Colin turned 18, she contacted him through MySpace. After exchanging a few emails, he cutoff contact in 2010. Now a registered nurse living in the Denver area, she sought to meet him last August when she attended a pre-season game between the 49ers and the Denver Bronco but they did not meet. The story somehow made it into the media, and this February she gave an interview to ESPN's Mark Schwartz about losing Colin.

In response to Schwartz's sensitive questions, Russo articulated calmly with only a hint of emotion what many first mothers feel. She described giving up her son as being:
"like having your heart ripped out ... but it was best for Colin. ...Those emotions and bond don't go away. .. I think that's one of the misconceptions. You relinquish your right to raise your child but you don't relinquish your right to love them or to think about them or the bond you had with them, that doesn't go away."
Heidi Russo
..."This is not some kind of plea for Colin to meet me. I respect who he is; he's an amazing young man. So it's his choice. ...Whether he is a star quarterback or a salesman, he's my son and I want to know. I don't want his money; I don't want his fame. I don't want any of that. Am I his parent? No. Rick and Teresa are his parents; he has a family. But I am his birth mom and I love him. He is my son. No matter what people say, it doesn't change that.'"
We encourage readers to watch the ESPN video (link below); Russo's bravery and honesty will bring tears to your eyes.

According to a recent interview Kaepernick gave Time, his adoptive mother was upset with Russo's comments. She called him asked him to watch the interview, and to call her back and let her know what he thought of it. Both he and his adoptive mother thought some of the things Russo said weren't "completely accurate." (It's hard to know what these things could be since Russo was discussing her feelings for the most part.)
"'My immediate reaction was like, 'why?' Kaepernick says. 'The story had been told--we had gone over it.' ... 'I was like, "Mom, look, I know who my family is. That's not going to change. I love you.' Teresa broke down on the phone. 'To me, that was the point where I felt my mother was attacked,' Kaepernick says. 'That was the point where in my mind I was like a meeting is never going to happen.  ... You hurt my family, you hurt my mother. And that's not something I'm willing to tolerate.'" 
"Kaepernick says he's 'clocked out' on Russo. 'I didn't feel like you have any right to say you have any say in how things go ... because you weren't the one working those night shifts, you weren't the one driving me [to practice]. My mom has gone above and beyond for so long, and I don't feel she gets the credit she deserves. for what she's done.'"
That Russo's comments could be considered "attacking" or "hurtful" stretches the imagination beyond belief. Her remarks are complimentary and she explicitly says Rick and Teresa are Colin's parents.

Jane
 Russo responded to Kaepernick's over-the-top reaction by saying: "I'm sorry that's the way he feels. I'm certainly not out to hurt him or his family. But I am out here trying to change the stigmas and stereotypes associated with birth mothers.'"

Standing on the sidelines, what appears to be happening is that an insecure adoptive mother is foisting her fears on her adopted son, causing him to reject his first mother to prove his love for her.

Sadly Teresa Kaepernick's response is not all that unusual.  Adoptee Betty Jean Lifton wrote in her heralded book Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness: "When their reality [that first parents are in the picture] slips like a rug out from under them, most adoptive parents are overwhelmed with fear of loss. They risk losing not only the child but the reality of their family and the continuity of their clan. They feel betrayed."

Kaepernick's response is also not unusual according to Lifton: "It is very difficult for adoptees to  respond to a birth mother when their adoptive parents are threatened. They moved into protective mode--especially some boys, who have a hard time dealing with emotional conflict."

The irony is that many adoptees say that knowing their first parents actually improves their relation with their adoptive parents.

Colin, give a relationship with your first mother a chance. We read comments on FMF from adoptees about first mothers refusing to meet their lost child, mothers still too ashamed to step out of the closet. Your first mother is not only out of the closet, she's professing her love on ESPN. She's an amazing woman. Surely a man facing 300 pound linemen each week trying to tear his head off can handle two mothers. Grab the ball and run with it. Give Russo the chance to know you; learn your roots. And Teresa and Rick, try to overcome your fears and open up to Russo. The human heart has an infinite capacity for love. Russo can never displace you, but she will always be a presence in your life and your son's life. Making an effort to know her may reduce tensions and fears.--jane

COMMENTS CLOSED
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FROM FMF:
A Call Kaepernick should make--to his birth mother

RECOMMENDED READING
Journey Of The Adopted Self: A Quest For Wholeness  "Betty Jean Lifton, whose Lost & Found: The Adoption Experience has become a bible to adoptees and to those who would understand the adoption experience, explores further the inner world of the adopted person. She breaks new ground as she traces the adopted child’s lifelong struggle to form an authentic sense of self. And she shows how both the symbolic and the literal search for roots becomes a crucial part of the journey toward wholeness."--Amazon. Order by clicking on link or photo of cover. Both books are highly recommended for both adoptees, first parents--and adoptive parents.

84 comments :

  1. I hope she hangs in there. This reminds me of the interview about being reunited that I saw with football player Tim Green and his adoptive mother. She literally wailed, this was not supposed to happen! She looked petty and small.

    Thanks for this excellent piece Jane!

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  2. Doing a public interview on ESPN does not seem like the best way to approach having a relationship with him. I find it quite paternalistic that you would call CK out to not be afraid to have a relationship with his first mother. That is how Adult Adoptees are often treated, their feelings disregarded, being told how to feel, what to do. Maybe it's not that "he can't take it." Maybe he is a grown man making his own choices and chooses not to "take it."

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  3. It was a good interview--agreeing that the guy's skilled questioning brought so much out. It's very difficult for a-parents to face the implications of relinquishment in the flesh, years down the road, and see the pain on the mother's face. I'd be interested to know what parts of the interview Teresa disagreed with or got upset by--you never know, people hear something being said about them in the media and they immediately get on their high horse if it isn't exactly as they would have said it themselves.

    It's disappointing to hear that Colin is getting this pushback from his a-mother. Your post from over a year ago suggested she was staying out of it. Now it sounds as though he is being pressured by her to stay on "her side". He should be navigating this without interference from the Kaepernicks, even if they are his parents. I hope it works out eventually. I'm not sure if this interview contributed to that goal, however.

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  4. Shame on him? Really? You are talking about an adult who should have the option of deciding who he wants to have in his life. Without being pressured by anyone, adoptive mother OR first mother.

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  5. Colin's made HIS choice...time to move on.

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  6. I'm a fan of this blog, but this post makes me a bit sad, I have to say. I'm both an adoptee and the mother of two adopted sons. I realize that I'm not a birthmother and I can't understand the feelings that Colin's birthmother is dealing with, but in watching her actions over the last several months, I can understand why Colin would feel pressured and uncomfortable.

    Social media makes reconnecting with birthfamily both easier and less thoughtful. I jumped the gun and (at 47) contacted my just-found birthmother on Facebook, must to her horror. My kids were inundated by birthfamily on Facebook as well as teenagers, and it was ill-timed and emotionally distressing to them because they already knew their birthfamily and had chosen to take time off from them but were disrespected in that decision. I can't imagine how heightened the discomfort would have been if any of us had leveraged a TV interview as well.

    I can understand why it would feel extreme and disrespectful to Colin -- and it's his choice, isn't it? Just as an adoptee should be empowered to find out about their birthparents, they should be empowered to take information at a pace that it emotionally acceptable to them.

    He's an adult. He gets to decide. And everyone around him should respect that -- including his birthmother.

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  7. Julia,

    Of course Colin Kaepernick has a choice of whether to meet his natural mother.

    The woman gave birth to him for God's sake when she could have had an abortion. She nurtured him for six weeks to keep him from going into foster care. She selected a family for him which he claims to be the best family. Surely it is not asking too much for him to show her the common courtesy of meeting her.

    His reasons for refusing to meet her do not appear to be based on anything other than his fear of offending his adoptive parents.

    In other words, he's acting like a jerk.

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    1. A jerk, really? You make it sound as if he should bow down and kiss her feet for having him instead of killing him. She made a choice. She also made the choice to give him up. With that, the ties are broken. Someone else took on the job she chose not to do. Someone else raised and put their all into this child. Why does anyone feel the birth mother has a right to anything? She may have made a mistake but that doesn't mean it should have to be on CK to correct it. It may be her regret but she needs to accept it. If he ever has an interest, he'll come to her.

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    2. At the age of 19, she gave him up to give him a better life that she knew she was not able to provide. She put her child's needs before herself and the love she has for him. A life where there would be a mother and father involved. There are mothers out here that do think about their child's life/future compare to the mothers that have several kids, on welfare, and are fatherless. She did not say she has a right to anything. She just wants to meet him hoping to develop a relationship. She is not trying to take the place of the adoptive parents at all. If you think about it, if it wasn't for her, they wouldn't be his parents anyway.

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  8. Hold up. I read through the article several times, plus several articles about Colin. In every single one he's stated that his adoptive parents have been NOTHING BUT SUPPORTIVE of him meeting his birth mom (his term). In fact, in several places he states that they have encouraged him to meet with her and have a relationship. HE HAS CHOSEN not to do so. That's his choice, he's an adult, and we all need to respect that.

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  9. He's acting like a jerk? No, he's acting like a young man, under a lot of pressure, and has a high-profile job. Honestly, I don't blame him for being cautious. She starts being really vocal about the time he gets famous? Even to a fellow first mom, like myself, that seems a bit suspect. She is putting even more pressure on him, and why would he want that in his life?

    I'm a huge Niner fan, and have been watching this unfold locally. Frankly, Heidi Russo seems more interested in the media coverage than anything else.

    I think calling him a jerk was pretty low, even for you Jane.

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  10. "The woman gave birth to him for God's sake when she could have had an abortion."

    Oh, puleeze. How many adoptees have said that to them? Too many. It doesn't help.

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  11. I don't understand where you're getting that Mrs. Kaepernick's response is anything but supportive of her son doing what he wants to do. According the articles I've read, she's actually encouraged Colin to meet with Russo on several occasions. And from what I've read, the crying that you mention Jane, sounded like it was from a place of frustration with being dragged into the spotlight again. Not that she didn't want Colin to meet with Russo.

    And, Jane, calling him a "jerk"? I don't think that was called for.

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  12. This whole post just made me so, so sad. Russo just doesn't "get" it. I understand that she wants to get the word out about first moms, and I completely support that. However, I don't support her using Colin's fame to give her a platform for speaking. Reunification should be done in private, not in the public arena. I know that if I were in his shoes, I wouldn't want to meet with her after her antics.

    When my birth mother found me 5 years ago, I was nervous and excited. It took a lot of time and energy to work up to actually meeting her. I can't imagine the pressure he must be feeling. Shame on her for adding to that.

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  13. Once again showing why women are great incubators and horrible decision makers.

    - Greg Chesterton III

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  14. Jane, I'm a loyal reader, but you are way off base in this post. Russo is seemingly using Colin's fame to pressure him to meet with her. As a fellow first mom, I am simply appalled at her actions. How dare she?? I can see why he wouldn't want to meet her. She's acting like nothing more than a media-hound. Reunification is a private matter, no matter the star-status of one of the people involved. Really! She makes me want to cover my face and go back into the closet.

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  15. I'm a first mom, in reunification for almost 11 years. I am simply baffled as to what the hell Heidi Russo is doing. Invading the private life of her son so publicly and ostentatiously. Makes me sick to think of what this young man is going through.

    I, for one, say "good for him"!! He doesn't need someone who is just using him and his adoptive status to draw attention to herself. Sickening!

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  16. Kaepernick's parents have said they are supportive, but Kaepernick's mother sees the video; suggests he watch it; he does and when he calls her back she is upset and his comments refer to Russo attacking them or not giving them credit. Excuse me, but none of that was in the video. None of it. Russo not only does not attack Teresa Kaepernick, his adoptive mother, but says his adoptive parents are his parents.

    People are very sensitive to cues that may not be explicitly expressed.

    A woman who told me that her adopted daughter did not want to search. Okay, I nodded, when she told me and let the subject drop. Yet this woman insisted, shortly after my daughter died, that a friend of mine "correct" her language and use "birth daughter" when she referred to my daughter. What kind of cues do you think she gave her own "adopted" daughter when the subject of searching came up, even if the mother was the one who brought it up? I'd venture to say that it was like, Do you want to search? Unspoken: but you will be breaking my heart if you do, you know how upsetting the topic of adoption is to me. Adoptees have learned they have to be very sensitive on the subject with their parents, lest their parents question their loyalty. That seems to be at work with Teresa Kaepernick and Colin.

    It seems that no matter what Russo did, Colin Kaepernick was not willing to meet her. And yes, we know that first/birth mothers and fathers do the same thing: refuse to meet the children they gave up for adoption. I find that despicable.

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  17. Woah! Are you saying that we adoptees OWE it to our birth mothers to meet them? WTF?!? Really?

    I, for one, don't owe anyone anything. And least of all the woman who abandoned me at the stairs of a church. I was 3 days old and the note said that I was a "bad baby" because I was crying all the time. Turns out I had a medical condition, but "dear mom" was either too stupid, high, or clueless to take me to a doctor instead.

    Thanks for reminding me that there are still old-fashioned thinkers out there like you.

    Thankfully, I was raised by decent people and was given a good start in life...no thanks to anyone but them.

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  18. If Teresa Kapernick were supportive of Colin meeting his first mother, why did she insist he watch the interview -- and why did he feel the need to reassure her?

    They appear like other adoptive parents we've heard about-- supportive as long as a reunion is an abstraction.

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  19. So, an adoptive mother when seeing her son under pressure to do something he doesn't want to do...she cries about it and suddenly she's not supporting the first mom. What?? Do you honestly think so little of adoptive parents?

    Your story of the woman correcting you to say "birth daughter" is indicative of how we adoptive parents think? It's not most of us, believe me. I WISH that my son's birth mother would get her act together and call him once in a while. He's 12 and I encourage him to send cards, his "A" work, or even just a drawing. We send her money every year for a plane ticket (because she decided to move across the country with her alcoholic/druggie boyfriend). And how often has she visited? Not once. We've had an "open" adoption since day one. She knows where we live, our phone number, and where we work. But, what does she do? She calls or e-mails a few times a year asking for large sums of money or for us to buy her a new wardrobe for whatever job she just got hired for (she's had over 10 jobs in the last 6 years).

    And, every time his birthday comes around, my son cries wanting to talk to his birth mom...but she never calls, until a few weeks later when she asks for something. My son is frustrated. I am frustrated. And when I see something like this, I get angry. Just because you're a birth mom doesn't automatically mean you're a saint.

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  20. Insisting that my friend refer my daughter as a "birth daughter"--as she was talking to my husband--is indicative of that woman, and I do believe a great many adoptive parents, from what I hear from adoptees who write to me privately. Obviously, there are all kinds of people in the world. The other day I heard from a first mother who is in contact with her son,while he lives with his adoptive parents, and keeps asking her for stuff--a new computer, new sneakers, etc. She is the opposite of the mother you describe.

    Yet I would never have the courage or want to be so obviously discourteous as to ask my acquantance about her "adoptive" daughter, or correct someone's language if they brought her daughter up. I met the daughter once and felt very uncomfortable. I had no idea if she knew my connection to adoption.

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  21. I do not think Colin owes his first mother anything. By bringing this up in the media, she has put him in a tough spot and no man appreciates that at all.
    My husband, who is adopted, told me if his first mother would have appeared on TV talking about him and his adoption, he'd have stayed far, far away from her.
    Barb

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  22. She did not correct my language; she corrected a friend of mine who knew my daughter pretty well. My daughter had committed suicide about 10 days before this happened. My good friend was talking to my husband as a social event I had chosen not to attend, as we had just returned from my daughter's funeral and I could not face a group of people, others than those who attended a memorial tea for my daughter at my home. Nearly everybody who I invited to that had known my daughter as she had lived with us at various times.

    At this other event, that I did not attend is where this "sensitive" adoptive mother chose to make a fuss over what my friend called my daughter. I never had any other children so there was no question "which" daughter anyone could possibly be talking about.

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  23. Anonymous, just because you are an adoptive mother doesn't make you a saint.

    This blog certainly does not think that all birth mothers are saints, starting with Christy Maldonado.

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  24. Sarah,
    Right, but a biological father who wanted to avoid child support...he's been aggrandized on this blog more than once. Just saying...according to this blog first parents should be given the benefit of the doubt. While adoptive parents need to be viewed suspiciously. As Lorraine's most recent comments prove.

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  25. I think Heidi needs to quit grabbing the spotlight, every chance she gets, to talk about wanting a reunion with her son. Colin has made it very clear that he is not interested in a reunion at this time, and her actions are working against her own best interests. I would be annoyed as hell if I didn't want a meeting and a family member of mine kept going public.

    And what if his reasons for not wanting a meeting are because he is afraid of how that might affect his relationship with his APs? That's not surprising. Many adoptees have problems with abandonment and rejection. Your post says he should just man up and not worry about this. For the most part I agree, but maybe he's not ready for that yet. I think having at least one meeting is the only moral, ethical, kind, humane thing to do. But that's not how everyone feels. Also, Heidi is the one who closed the adoption when Colin was 7 years old. Certainly, she had her reasons, but a decision like that can come back and back her in the ass.

    I don't think this story is over yet. Colin is still very young. It wouldn't surprise me if his feelings change when he is ready to become a father himself. There will be no denying his blood connections then.

    And any young woman who goes to an adoption agency and is told that she can give her child up and then have a relationship later should take heed of this story. Better yet, she should run for the hills and keep her baby.

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  26. I can sympathize with Colin. I was quite the phenom on piano. I won music competitions and brought home trophies and money. I was called "The Next Mozart" and I traveled around my state performing and even did a little tour in Europe. It was well known in my small town that I was adopted. And even though I knew who my birth mother was (my parents were very open about that), my birth mom opted to stay away from me most of my life. My adoptive parents encouraged her to be involved, but she refused. It wasn't until I won a prestigious scholarship to a very famous school that my birth mom stepped out of the woodwork. Suddenly she was taking credit for my talent. She did interviews with several newspapers in our state and even did an interview on some radio shows. Before I knew it, she was saying that she wanted to know me and that my parents had kept me too busy to have a relationship with her.

    From the time I was born to the time I went off to college, I hadn't received any communication from her. No, I take that back, she sent flowers to me when I graduated from high school with a note that said: "I'm glad your biological father gave you his brains and not his looks. Love, YOUR REAL MOM".

    When I decided to give up piano in order to pursue nursing, someone back home interviewed my birth mom about my choice. She said I was wasting my talents and that my parents had forced me to do it. I called the newspaper and explained the truth...the only reason the article wasn't run.

    So, Colin...stay strong. Do what you need to do. Stay away from crazy people who only want you now because you're famous!

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  27. The only comment Heidi Russo should ever have made to the media is "no comment", if her real interest is an eventual reunion with her son, not publicity. The things she said could have been conveyed privately to her son, not blasted out in an interview.

    I does not matter what she said, but that she said it so publicly and after he made it clear he did not want to meet her. More publicity of any sort on her part could only make things worse, not better. And it has.

    I do not know any of these people or their motives, but what I see here is a young man sticking up for his mother who raised him, which is understandable and does not make him a jerk. He is very young, in a field that puts in him the spotlight, and the last thing he needs is more pressure.

    Adoptees should have a choice about whether or not they want a relationship. She gave him that choice, he declined, and then she went on to seek publicity in such a way that left him entrenched in anger at her.

    No adoptee owes their mother anything for not having an abortion or for giving birth. I think any mother who plays that "gratitude" card is just as bad as the adoptive parents who try to elicit gratitude and guilt for raising the child.

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  28. ok...then its ok for as rejected adoptee who really was just born to push into an overly shamed BIRTH mother and contact the media, call her a jerk, call her selfish and just FORCE her to come out...is that ok? Or would that be cruel...oh wait...its different right? After all the little adoptee SHOULD be more sensitive , they COULD have been aborted( I agree...oh pluzeee) The adoptee is nothing but a jerk if they don't tow the mother line...whether it be BIRTH or adoptive...

    Maybe this kid is more interested in making a life for himself then dealing with a mother that is more into her healing then her own son...or just maybe his adoption issues are so very deep that he NEEDS to keep it the way it is. Where is the compassion for HIM...or maybe , its because he does feel loyal to his aparents...so what? ITs all he knows right now and to force otherwise is just plain cruel.. No matter the circumstantes of his birth and adoption...he was the vulnerable one that knows only what he has experianced. To force him to LOVE MOMMIE is just wrong, cruel and not compassionate to HIM...the innocent one. Don't care what or how the adoptive parents are seen its all about the person adopted. They are the ones that had to live it and THATS what both mothers have to see...that is if you really love your child, that is if you are able to see it from the adoptive person side and NOT your own hurt, fear, infertility, pain of losing a child etc...get out of your own way and think of your CHILD....

    JERk? REALL ARE you kidding me JAne?Y???

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  29. I'm tired of people coming to a first mother blog and trying to put us in our place.

    I'm tired of adoptees taking out their Mommy issues on women who haven't even done anything to them personally, as individuals.

    I'm tired of adopters coming here telling us we're too uppity and that "birthmothers" are crazy and that they don't blame adoptees for not wanting to know us.

    Yeah, LOSING YOUR CHILD would kind of make you crazy. If we weren't at least a little addled by it, you'd say we were heartless. We can't win no matter what we do so you can STUFF it.

    Maybe Russo contacted her son again after he got famous because he blocked her on Myspace and she didn't have any other way to reach him--ever think about that? If he's famous, that means he's publicly visible. As he's publicly visible, she has a way to make her messages to him also visible. As far as she knew, he could have changed his mind since the Myspace thing. How was she supposed to know? People do change their minds about post-adoption contact. It could have been he'd changed his, and then was afraid to get back in touch with her for fear she'd be angry and shut him out. She had to take the chance. At least she tried. Remember, his adopters, not she, cut off contact when he was a kid.

    How DARE any of you judge her. Lose a child and find out how it feels. YOU expected some woman to let an adoption agency sell you her baby because it hurt SO MUCH to be infertile. You were hurting over an idea. Losing your flesh and blood offspring is losing someone REAL.

    And adoptees? At least you had people raising you to substitute for the parents you lost. What does a first mother or first father have left when you're gone? I try very hard to bite my tongue when I see you ranting about us, but with all the garbage I'm reading here, at least right this second, the gloves come off. As YOU ARE POINTING OUT, you have a great family and you don't need your first parents. So you don't know jack about what they're going through. So STOW IT.

    Don't like me talking to an adult that way? YOU don't talk to US adults the way YOU have. Simple, right? Thank you.

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  30. Wow Jane, lots of assumptions in your blog post. I will start by saying that I am an adoptive mom and a 49er fan who has followed this story with interest. For those who watch ESPN, you would be aware that Heidi's interview aired over and over for almost 2 days. It was followed by other discussion regarding Kap's adoption on other ESPN shows. In the bay area the topic was beaten to death on radio, sports articles, and twitter. That would be tough for any person and their family. So Teresa Kaepernick should not have contacted her son to see if he needed to talk about this? I think I would cry too if this happened to my family. You seem to be looking at this only from one point of view with no understanding that this sort of interview by Heidi causes a flurry of media requests and questions for Kaepernick and his family. He has made it clear that he does not want to publicly address these issues yet she has forced his hand. Now because it's not the response you would like to see he is a "jerk".

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  31. Maryanne, we never said adoptees should not have a choice about contact with their natural mothers. And Dpen, we never said Colin should be forced to "LOVE MOMMIE.

    Colin had the choice between being a gracious and kind human being or being a jerk. He choose being a jerk. We cannot excuse his callous behavior because he had other things on his mind or because he was the innocent victim of adoption.

    FMF is equally critical of natural mothers who refuse to meet their lost child once. We support open records even if it means that natural mothers may have an unwelcome visitor.

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  32. I don't think the people who "love" Colin are allowing him to grow up. I have been in Colin's shoes, and it is a terrible place to be. I disagree that he is being a jerk...he cannot afford to lose what his adoptive parents have given him....whatever that is. He probably does love them, but he is also so completely beholden to them that he cannot make a decision for himself to save his life.

    This was me at 37 years old....37. I looked like an adult, but I had no tools to act like one. It took ten more years to cut through it all to see that I could act like an adult and make decisions for myself.

    Colin had no choices when he was small and adopted, and even though it looks as though he has free will, he absolutely does not.

    It took two years of therapy crying, disassociating, and developing new methods of coping for me to really be able to separate myself from the unknown guilt trips my parents who raised me put on me.

    I am begging you, Jane, to have compassion for Colin. He can't win. No matter what, he can't win. He is the cause os everyone's joy and pain. He can't win until he grows up, and he may never see what is happening to him.

    Lee H.

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  33. This is being played out way too much in the public eye for me to have much sympathy for Russo. It seems to me that adoptees and birth mothers are definitely on opposite sides of this discussion (if the comments on this post are anything to go by) and I would caution the birth moms to pay attention to what us adoptees are saying if you have an interest in knowing your children- or want to advocate for others like yourselves.

    Russo is going about this wrong and no amount of attempting to shame those of us who feel that way (like Dana's post) is going to change that. If my biological mother came at me with that attitude I'd have nothing to do with her.

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  34. Wait a minute, if memory serves Colin's first mother chose to close the adoption when he was a child. So most likely in his eyes, she rejected him twice. And then when he doesn't want to meet her after finding fame (everybody wants you when you're famous) she runs crying to the press?
    Shame on her.
    Colin is under no obligation to meet his first mother ever.
    Does it make him a jerk? Not in my eyes it doesn't. Not in the context of what I consider very bad behavior on her part.
    I would have much more empathy if she hadn't gone running to the press.

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  35. I respect this woman for taking a chance, reaching out to her child and speaking out for women.

    I have been told MANY times here and other places online, by many adoptees that they would give anything to know that their first family loved them and thought of them throughout the years. At least in Colin's case, he KNOWS this to be true even while denying his birthmother. It is easy to take something for granted when you don't want or need it. There are many other people out in the world who would give anything to have this kind of opportunity. Time can change a lot of things too. Especially when you go on to have a family of your own. Things that didn't seem important at the time, can often turn into a priority later.

    Bravo for Ms. Russo. Better to take a chance and know than to not & never know. I'm glad to see her stand tall and proud than have to feel as if all she had to resort to secretly "following him" via social media. I can only imagine the grief she would have gotten for that.

    In closing, based on what I have seen here, no i have no issue with Colin making a decision & yes that is his "right". But I don't see his decision being based on anything concrete or factual rather it is more of an emotional knee jerk reaction IMHO. But what do we really know hmm? We're simply outsiders looking in.

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  36. Jane wrote:"Colin had the choice between being a gracious and kind human being or being a jerk. He choose being a jerk."

    No, he isn't being a jerk. I did not previously know the information Anon 9:16pm wrote in his or her comment, but after reading it, all I can see is that Colin is being bullied. Shame on Heidi Russo for continuing to go public with this when Colin has said he does not want to discuss it publicly. Do you know what happens when the news media gets hold of a 'sensational' story like this? They're like a dog with a bone. How selfish and self-centered to force Colin to deal with this emotionally charged and probably painful experience in a public forum when he has already said he wishes to keep it private. He is being forced into being the 'poster adult' for adoption.

    @NurseJune,
    Your story was interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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  37. I think that you and Heidi have both diminished the respect that first mothers deserve. As for Dana Seilhan, how DARE you talk about judging? You see, the author wrote this very judgmental article and published it and left open a comment section. How DARE you speak so degradingly toward anyone?

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  38. I have always been of the mindset that human beings owe each other kindness. A simple one time face to face meeting on both sides- firstparent and adoptee- is humane. That being said, I think you are being a little harsh on calling him a callous jerk. In the 20 yrs I've worked with adoptees/firstparents, men seem to come later to the decision and need to search and connect. Often they have more anger towards being abandoned and can be more protective towards their adoptive mothers-which does cause more difficult loyalty issues. Your 2nd post about this situation (about him making the phone call) was much softer in your criticism of Colin. He didn't choose to bring his adoption into the public- it was unearthed and his firstmom interviewed in the public forum. Many adoptees feel the need to be in the control of the relationship-and here this young man is being forced to publically make a decision. He made his choice and obviously he feels he has to choose his adoptive mother. While I don't personally agree that a choice has to be made between the two-right now Colin does. I think all of these emotions are normal and completely exaggerated because of the media exposure. Just as we would normally say give a firstmom time to come to grips with having to expose her secret to her family if she was found, lets also give him some time out of the media to deal with his emotions. Heidi needs to choose a less public forum to promote awareness of firstmoms. She chose to close the adoption because it was too painful- she has to respect his feelings to keep it that way and in a more private manner. She also has to think that her younger son may want to reach out to his older brother in the future and how her current public actions may hinder a private relationship between the two later. I am so sorry for Heidi, but I honestly think that she needs to come out of the public eye for Colin's sake.

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  39. I am a first Mom. Six weeks ago my son's birth records were finally unsealed, he saw his true birth certificate and five days later he "found" me. He was born in 1967 and has been searching for me for almost 30 years. We will reunite face to face on his birthday next month.

    I have several initial thoughts after reading this entry. First and foremost, I am relieved my son wanted to find me. Because he initiated the search, the issues in this article are mostly non-issues for us although he has yet to inform his a-parents. I am sure he is conflicted about this.

    Secondly, I did not search for him. I believed in 1967 and I believe to this day that I made a legal, moral and ethical contract/promise to him and to his adoptive parents that I surrendered him believing that he would be well loved and well cared for and that in exchange for that I would swallow my grief as a quid pro quo. I believe this is what we call character and moral fiber, the keeping of one's word. Ms. Russo evidently missed this life's lesson. Her son owes her nothing. She owes him respect for his decisions as an adult. As an infant she made the decisions for him up to and until she signed the surrender. She cannot have it both ways.

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  40. I'm guessing that the February the 23rd interview felt like a last straw to Colin, especially coming only three weeks after the previous blast of publicity.
    He said the story had been told, that they'd gone over it and he didn't feel like it was something that needed to be addressed again. He also said that some of the things said in the interview didn't feel quite right to him.

    "I had thought about [a meeting] before then. Possibly in the future. When I feel like the time is right. Maybe that would have happened. I feel like, after the way things unfolded, that’s not ever going to happen now."
    Of course it might still happen and let's hope it does and works out well, but it does seem as if, in order to champion the cause of first mothers, Heidi over did the over sharing - almost as if the cause had become more important than the person.

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  41. What we don't know is how the press got the story, or how someone in the media reached out to Russo. But having been in the press myself, I can imagine that someone found Heidi Russo, she agreed to an interview because her son wouldn't bother meeting her, so what did she have to lose? Maybe he would see that she wasn't a crazy lady, or a slut, but a woman--his biological mother--he might want to know. He also has a half-brother, remember?

    Russo had no idea that it would be the story de jour for such a long time, or played over and over and ESPN. as Kaepernick's star rose. No one could have foreseen that. The story then became "THE STORY" about Kaepernick, and there was no way to put that genie back in the bottle. In the meantime, he's playing great football and winning, his adoptive mother gets emotional about seeing this played over and over again, and Kaepernick's feelings harden against Russo. In any event, it's now such a big story that every time he's written about in a profile, as the Time magazine piece was, it has to be included. Everybody involved (including Russo) probably wishes it would go away.

    It would have been much less of a story if Kaepernick had agreed to meet Russo a year ago, and have or not have a continuing relationship in person. But here we are. I personally feel empathy for all of them.

    There appears to be more anger and resentment (and just less interest) from male adoptees than female adoptees. Of course that's not the case every time. However, we do know that more women search, and that the adoption reform movement, is largely driven by women, both adoptees and first mothers.

    I do want to reiterate that both Jane and I are also harshly critical of birth mothers who refuse to meet their (adopted out) children AT LEAST ONCE.

    As I recall, Russo stopped communicating with the Kaepernicks because it was too painful for her--to see pictures of her son--because she was not able to move on with her life, but was stuck mired in the grief. I totally understand that feeling. There were times when I felt I was never going to move forward in my life I relinquished my daughter, and it took some hard realizations to be able to. I searched for my daughter, I found her, and because of her epilepsy and other issues, her parents welcomed my contact. From what I know now about the records in New York state, it is almost certain she never would have been able to find me.

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  42. So many great comments in defense of Colin. Good to see!

    I guess what I'd like to address is Jane saying in comments, "the woman gave birth to him for God's sake when she could have had an abortion".

    I thought the two actions, abortion and adoption, were completely unrelated, never to be even uttered within the same sentence. That being grateful to have not been aborted was delusional adoptee speak. That abortion was actually the kinder, more humane choice. That us broken, irreparably damaged adoptees wouldn't know what had hit us anyway if we'd been aborted, no harm, no foul.

    This particular post and resulting comments in defence of it and the oh so heroic, loving biological mother who stopped communicating with her beloved son because it was too painful for HER strike me as rather anti-adoptee rights.

    I've chosen to be nothing but gracious and kind with my biological mother and FMF sees me as a jerk also. We adopted people can't win for losing.

    The woman should never have discussed her adopted out son publicly without his permission. In doing so, she made a choice that her needs outweighed that of her son. Strikes me as self absorbed, not admirable.

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  43. To Lorraine,
    I am indeed a fortunate woman that my son sought out and found me. I am surprised to read it is more often female adoptees who seek.
    Perhaps the fact that my son is 46 and a parent himself makes a difference. I'm new at all this and have a lot to learn. I appreciate this blog, truly. Thank you for it.

    I early on in our correspondence asked his forgiveness for not keeping him. This was his reply...

    "The forgiveness you seek lies deep within my heart, the same heart that Loves my Children so greatly and deeply. This same heart has guided every step I have taken down life's path.

    The fact that I am here to love them and guide them every day that I draw a breath is a testament to my gratefulness for the tough decision you made then and are now facing 45 years later...

    My gratefulness for the act of love towards the child that you carried, bore, and ultimately had faith that the world would care for and love and turn into someone you can be proud of no matter if and when you ever heard from them or knew of the trials, tribulations or joys that may have become them is your Forgiveness.

    Forgiveness is the fact that I have always in my heart, mind & soul for as long as I can remember knowing I was adopted, knew someone loved me enough to be as brave as you were 45 years ago.

    I am praying that my knowing that Forgiveness is often asked for after an offense, a violation, a wounding, be it emotional, mental or physical, has never been needed when it comes to you and I."

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  44. Campbell:

    Your comment is confusing. I am sorry that your mother, or anybody's mother, rejects a relationship.

    But permission? He wasn't communicating with her. She is discussing giving him up on the video. You can't get permission to do something from someone who isn't talking to you.

    We certainly don't see you as a jerk because you "have been nothing but loving and kind" towards your mother. But if history is a guide, you only comment to tell us we are all wet, and that you dislike us intensely.

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  45. TrulyWonderfulPeepAugust 5, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    So Colin's adoptive mother and he get together to bash this woman who said nothing whatsoever derogatory towards any of them? How compassionate and empathetic of the woman who sacrificed her own happiness for her child's.

    We can't win, us first mothers. Either we don't do or say enough, or we do or say too much.

    Yes, for Colin to publicly BASH her when she did nothing to deserve that; just to appease his adopter mother and stroke her fragile ego entitles him to the title "jerk" in my book. If I were Heidi I'd pursue no further contact with him and move on. Who needs that negativity and animosity in their lives when she thought she was doing the right thing when she was a young woman. ("THOUGHT" being the operative word.)I know now, in my case that it was not the right thing at all. The people I chose to raise my child were the last people on earth who deserve the title of his parents after the way they have treated me just because they are jealous and threatened.

    I feel for this woman, who "interviewed" potential adoptive parents for her son, chose these people and they betray her like this. Now it is the "US" or "HER" mentality so many adoptive parents display when they get their coveted prize of another's child. I wonder if they bothered to tell her they would behave this way towards her all these years later when they were being "interviewed" for their title of faux ma and pa?

    Of course they didn't. None of them do. To any young woman contemplating adoption, take heed to this warning. This may very well be what is down the road for you in the future if you go through with it. No, your child may not be a famous quarterback, but the mentality of most of the people who think they have some right to tell you what to think, say and do (e.g. adopters and YOUR own child) will be the same as you have read here...

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  46. For those of you critical of Russo, I urge you to watch the interview. She is calm, poised, and complimentary to both Kaepernick and his adoptive parents. Russo simply discusses her feelings. That appears to be enough to send Kaepernick into a tailspin.

    Some of the adoptees who posted here seem incredibly hostile to first parents--or at least those who stand up for themselves. These adoptees are now making Russo the target of their anger. Perhaps hostility to first parents is necessary for some so that they can reconcile themselves to the fact they were given away.

    The link to the interview is at the end of the post and here. http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/92354/following-up-adoption-subject-revisited

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  47. Just to remove confusion, my biological mother hasn't rejected a relationship, we were just texting yesterday. I continue to be nothing but gracious and kind to her.

    I don't dislike you Lorraine, I really don't know you, but I do dislike this post and some of the resulting comments. I simply wanted to comment in defense of the adoptee who's subject of the post and who's been called a jerk for exercising his right to not meet or have a relationship with one of his biological parents and to express my opinion on parents who speak publicly about their children without their ok.

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  48. I don't think Heidi Russo is only interested in her son because he is famous. And I don't think she's a gold digger. But I do think she is going about this the wrong way, and that she has shown she can't be trusted to respect Colin's wishes. If my n-mother had done something like this to me, my a-mother would have been crying, too.

    Country singer Faith Hill is a great example of someone who knows how to handle adoption reunion while being in the public eye. She has stated publicly that she has reunited with her original families but that they requested anonymity. Faith has shown respect for them by never revealing their names or any of the details of their relationship. That's a much better way to handle things when one person doesn't not want to reunite in the public arena.

    Not all of us want one of our most private and potentially painful life experiences to become grist for the tabloid mill, no matter how we feel about the fact that we were given up.

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  49. I feel more critical of the author of this article than I do toward CK's first mother. You calling him a jerk and saying that he should be grateful for not being aborted is far more offensive. I wonder if you are hoping to jump on CK's coattails and get some notoriety, too.

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  50. I understand the criticism of Russo because she cut off contact with Kaepernick when he was six or seven but there's likely more to it. I know mothers who cut off contact with their minor children. They explained it by saying they had too much pain and they believed the children were better off if they were out of the picture. Adoption agencies sell openness as a benefit to mothers and mothers may be are unaware of the importance of continuing contact to their children.

    Russo did contact Kaepernick when he turned 18, clearly sending the message that she never forgot him.

    Those who say Kaepernich was justified in refusing to meet his first mother because she went public have the facts backwards. She went public AFTER he refused to meet her and cut off contact on MySpace.

    As Lorraine noted, we don't know how the media learned about Russo. It may have sought her out and put her in the spotlight, not the other way around.

    Kapernick's comment that he might have contacted Russo if she hadn't gone to the media reminds me of little children. Ask them nicely about ten times to do something and they ignore you. Raise your voice and they say "well I would have done it if you hadn't raised your voice."

    It might be helpful to Kaepernick if he explored the impact of adoption on his life. I'd love to see someone like former NFL player and author Tim Green or rapper DMC reach out to him.

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  51. Christine, I didn't say Kaepernick should be grateful that his mother didn't abort him. I said he should respect the fact that she gave birth to him; she's not some random groupie.

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  52. Having famous people like DMC or a fellow pro football player like Tim Green reach out to Colin would not help a bit, because their needs and circumstances and motivations are very different. The fact that all are adoptees in the limelight does not make DMC and Green righteous for seeking reunion and Colin wrong for refusing it. Life is much more complex than that.

    Adoptees are individuals with free will and the choices they make are what they feel is best for them. They are not clones from the same mold who only need to be set right about "proper" adoptee behavior and feelings. Whether an adoptee or parent wants to reunite or not is nobody's business but theirs. Of course they should have the legal right,and all identifying information, but the other party has the right to not want a relationship as well. That is sad and it hurts, but it is not always wrong.

    I still think that calling Colin a jerk was out of line. My son did not want to know me for many years after an initial contact when he was too young. I did not and do not think he was jerk, or that he owes me anything, but see his eventual coming around as a pure gift.

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  53. If Colin truly was upset about Russo being in the news, he could have refused to comment on the ESPN video in his "Time" interview. Instead he bashed Russo, guaranteeing that "Time" many readers who had missed it on the tube would watch it on the internet.

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  54. "Kapernick's comment that he might have contacted Russo if she hadn't gone to the media reminds me of little children. Ask them nicely about ten times to do something and they ignore you. Raise your voice and they say "well I would have done it if you hadn't raised your voice." "

    Sorry, but that sounds almost as bad to my ears as "The woman gave birth to him for God's sake when she could have had an abortion." Punitive and manipulative.

    Many adoptees come round later, just like many first mothers do. Not everyone responds to a reaching out right away.

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  55. Sad to see these comments turn into an 'argument' between adoptees and birthmothers ... was hoping to see some discussion of how male and female adoptees react.

    To me, Colin's response is really kind of typical of a sports-oriented male adoptee.

    My brother is like that ... no matter what his natural mother does ... no matter what opportunities and options life hands him, he cannot seem to process his emotions about the situation. And he won't even try.

    I do think Lorraine is right when she writes:

    "There appears to be more anger and resentment (and just less interest) from male adoptees than female adoptees. Of course that's not the case every time. However, we do know that more women search, and that the adoption reform movement, is largely driven by women, both adoptees and first mothers."

    How men and women differ in how they process and react to the situation is something I really would like to learn more about.

    I agree that Russo's public statements would scare a lot of people off ... might have scared me off, personally ... but that is due to the media's agendas and ways of presenting things, and how publicity affects one's life more than anything.

    Males and females handle the adoption thing very differently. I know from my experience, most of the adopted boys/men find it hard to trust any women at all. Additionally, they are so emotionally closed up about it. They seem to feel it will destroy them to experience their real feelings about it.

    If you have any information on these gender differences, please post it. That info is hard to come by. Thanks!

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  56. KatieP,

    You might look at Betty Jean Lifton's "Journey of the Adopted Self". I quoted her briefly in this post but she says much more.

    I also recommend adoptee Tim Green's "A Man and His Mother." He talks about how his anger at his mother for giving him up spilled onto his relationship with women. Eventually he searched and found his mother and they developed a positive relationship. Like Kaepernick, Green played in the NFL.

    From the post: "Kaepernick's response is also not unusual according to Lifton: 'It is very difficult for adoptees to respond to a birth mother when their adoptive parents are threatened. They moved into protective mode--especially some boys, who have a hard time dealing with emotional conflict.'"

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  57. Do you realize that this is not the first television interview Russo did? She also has done several print and radio interviews. (check google) As far as I know, this Time interview was the first time that Colin really addressed any questions regarding meeting her. Perhaps he has decided to use the media to respond in hopes that she stop.

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  58. Yes, anon, we are aware of Russo's previous media interviews. We wrote about Russo in two earlier posts. The links are at the of the recent post.

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  59. The San Francisco 49ers have never played tthe Denver Nuggets.

    One is a football team and the other is a basketball team.

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  60. Thanks, Anon, we've made the correction. Broncos it is.

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  61. It seems Lorraine and Jane want to give the benefit of the doubt to Heidi and slam Colin and give him no benefit of...well..anything really. Seems a bit unfair but ok.
    I guess that is one way of looking at it.
    But Lorraine, where has Colin ever called Heidi "slutty" or "crazy"? Is it really fair to project that insecurity onto him?
    You don't know what he is thinking and just because he happens to be adopted and famous does not give you the right to put words in his mouth.
    Look, he doesn't want to have anything to do with her. Lump him in with a high majority of male adoptees and let this be a lesson.
    I see this story as a cautionary tale, but not for Colin.

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  62. No, Colin has never said that his mother was crazy or slutty, but that image is often what we sense that many feel the natural mothers must be--otherwise why would they give up their children?

    Russo comes across like a decent woman who would be worth knowing, and that is what I meant.

    All in all, this is a sad story for everyone involved.

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  63. "Russo sounds like a decent woman . . . " Agreed, but a misguided one, IMO.
    Colin also sounds like a decent young man. NOT the "jerk" you seem to want to make him out to be.

    Seems to me the commentator who suggested that Colin resorted to using the media in order to to put pressure on Heidi not to be so public was right.
    I don't understand why Heidi wouldn't have already realized she was overdoing it. She seems like an intelligent woman. Maybe she has friends who are encouraging her to speak out, in spite of what Colin wants.

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  64. Some adoptees, perhaps young males more than females, who were raised in an atmosphere where love equaled obligation or smothering, and was never unconditional, might be wary and suspicious of loud emotional protestations of love from a natural mother. One mother is too much already, two would be unbearable, so they deal with that by not dealing with it.

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  65. just a comment here about the "differences" between adopted women and adopted men.

    I was reunited with my son, age 21, in the 1980s, after I joined a CUB group. There were many mothers there so I had a chance over the years to observe their reunions.

    From what I saw, over the years, the mother/son reunions were just as successful as the mother/daughter reunions.

    I also worked for the group as a " peer support person" ...so I heard a lot of people's search and reunion stories over the phone.

    There was very little rejection of first mothers from either gender. Most adopted people were accepting of their first mothers, if they were adults and living away from the adoptive home. This was the typical response, no matter how the contact was made....whether the adult child was a son or a daughter.

    It is true that more women adoptees than men search. But men who are found react positively most of the time.

    Sometimes, when reunion begins, the stresses and emotions are so great that adopted people and/or mothers will need to back off for awhile. It is important for the other party to understand this and respect it...even though it hurts. This happens with both genders of adopted people.

    When an adopted person has indicated that contact is not desired , the mother should limit or even stop contact....making sure the adopted person has her name and contact information for the future. CUB has always advised mothers in that situation to , perhaps, send a birthday card once a year or even every other year...but no more contact than that.

    I do understand the desire to see one's child. Heidi could have seen Colin by going to a game on her own, as a private decision. He was a public figure. But giving public interviews was not wise, IMO. The situation became confrontational, and he became defensive which I think defeated her purpose.

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  66. I don't think it's fair to speculate that anyone was raised in an atmosphere where "love equaled obligation". The projection and speculation that goes on here is breathtaking at times. I do think it's advisable for a-parents not to involve themselves in adoptees' relationships with original parents unless specifically invited, and I think it's a shame if Teresa felt that this interview was worth getting upset over. I mean, heck, she wasn't described as a grasping, selfish adoptoraptor. On the other hand, it's probably not fair to extrapolate from that reaction and declare Colin's upbringing as one characterized by love equalling obligation. If you haven't prepared yourself for the reality of first parents and their significance, then I imagine confronting these things would be highly upsetting. It doesn't mean you are constantly obligating your child, any more than natural parents obligate their children (which, by the way, they do in spades). Seems to me that everyone needs to back off and just let Colin make up his own mind. Nobody owes anyone anything.

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  67. Kitta, thanks for that information about male/female adoptees and reunion. It is true that the male adoptees I know who were found, or searched, basically had good reunions, and were accepting of their mothers. But if the numbers do not lie, a great many more do not feel "like going there," and so don't search. I know two adoptees who called off a possible reunion/search midstream: one female, one male. Jane recently reviewed a book by Richard Hill who searched for decades to connect with his biological family: Finding Family.

    Heidi Russo did go to a game in Denver, and hoped to meet her son afterwards. It did not happen, and the media machine began churning. I am going to impute good intentions to her: let's say she hoped that by speaking publicly of her love for him, by saying that she understands his parents are his Mom and Dad, he would change his mind and at least meet her, and possibly his brother.

    Instead, the interview had the opposite effect.

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  68. To Dana Seilhan,

    You said, "And adoptees? At least you had people raising you to substitute for the parents you lost. What does a first mother or first father have left when you're gone?"

    I don't like to compare our pain. Pain is pain, and it should be respected not quantified....

    You've summarily dismissed adoptees' pain. We lost so much. We lost our entire families. We lost our ethnicities. We lost our heritages. (And, if we are going to look at your reasoning, most our our f-moms went on to have other children, so apparently those children are proper "substitutes" for us.)

    I respect this forum. I love hearing the opinions of f-moms. But, I cannot sit back and take it when someone attempts to tell me that my loss was less than theirs.

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  69. @Lorraine, as I recall, a majority of the reunited mothers of sons I knew/know were mothers who searched for their sons in order to reunite with them. Many of these mothers reported at CUB meetings, or other meetings, that their sons told them they would never have searched. So their sons might have been in the numbers who might have said they "would never go there." Yet, they were happy to be found....and some of the sons even thanked their first mothers for finding them.

    The numbers don't lie, searching numbers of adopted men are lower, but the meaning of "reunion" can change when the circumstances change. Given that the numbers of searching adopted males are lower, the acceptance numbers for reunited males are higher than one might expect.

    I wonder if Heidi R got some poor advice from someone somewhere. There are people who suggest that resistance in a person can be overcome by love. but, declaring love can make people uncomfortable.

    I do not think that it is wise to try to convince someone to meet or talk or have a relationship against their will. People should be allowed to meet when they are ready..if and when that time comes. Gentleness is called for, and privacy....IMO.

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  70. It is impossible to know whose loss is greater, for everyone is different and experience everything differently from the next person. First mothers have the added responsibility of feeling responsible for their child, which makes them the guilty party, but they also have a life that is usually without the massive loss of family that adoptees endure. And mothers also have a time when adoption was not part of their lives; adoptees do not.

    But whose pain is greater is a question to which there is no answer.

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  71. Kitta, you said at 8/6 @ 12:13pm:
    When an adopted person has indicated that contact is not
    desired , the mother should limit or even stop contact....making sure the adopted person has her name and contact information for the future. CUB has always advised mothers in that situation to , perhaps, send a birthday card once a year or even every other year...but no more contact than that.


    and then you say @ 4:28pm:
    I do not think that it is wise to try to convince someone to meet or talk or have a relationship against their will. People should be allowed to meet when they are ready..if and when that time comes. Gentleness is called for, and privacy....IMO.

    re bolds above - you see my daughter asked that I not contact her, but after 2 years I wished her a 40th Happy Birthday on FaceBook (no, not friends, just sent a message thru there); and she wrote back: "I was mad because I am not supposed to have to deal with this. I was very angry that you did not “hear” me in my first letter to you, although you fully acknowledge it in your letter to me from last year. You write: “I should NOT be sending this letter to you… but I will respect your decision…” But you are not respecting my decision. I told you that I do not want any contact... I am very happy with the way things are right now. I know more about you, you know more about me, but I still do not want to have a relationship with you. My wish is that you will let this go now. If I want to contact you in the future, I will, but please do not contact me in any way again-not email, letters, Facebook, phone calls. I do not use this email address, so do not respond back to this address. I only have it for junk email. Do not contact any of my family members again. It really disrupts all of ours lives, and makes me angry that you do not respect our privacy. Thank you.
    Thank you for giving me life."

    So I think CUB is giving out incorrect information on "trying" to stay in touch with your son/daughter by writing every two, three years! I took that advice, and OOPS! I wish I hadn't, but "Say-La-Vee" - so I now I just wait and hope and pray!

    And regarding the topic - I wish everyone would leave Colin alone - football season is coming up and my Niners don't need distractions!! LOL!!

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  72. @Lee,

    I never heard CUB say that mothers should always contact their children when the adult adoptee has said "no" to contact. The advice given was to consider that " a mother might,perhaps, send a birthday card once a year or every other year" as I wrote. The significant word being "perhaps"..


    CUB was giving out the advice I wrote back in the 1980s and 90s and early 2000s. I don't know if they still are. It did help many people that I knew...when their children were in pull-back mode.

    I quit CUB after my son died in 2007. So I do not know exactly what advice they are giving out currently. But I do stay involved with other mothers' groups.

    The mother has to make her own decision anyway, as to when, whether, and how to make contact.One first mother I knew searched for twins, a son and a daughter. They both denied her at first. She continued to try to reach them. The son eventually responded but the daughter did not.

    I believe that Colin should be left alone to make his own decisions at this point.

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  73. I have to shake my head at the people who keep condemning the mom for speaking out, and for doing so repeatedly.

    Clearly you people doing that have NEVER loved someone so much, that you have a shared bond with, whom you are being rejected by for NO just reason! When you know you aren't dangerous, you aren't out to get that person, when all you want is the allowance to show them how much they mean to you, how much you love them, and as such, want to be a beneficial part of their life!

    When it comes to us mothers of loss, it's always a catch 22! We're always damned if we do, damned if we don't! When we are wanting our children, wanting to be in their life, when we keep reaching out to them, only to keep being rejected, when we become so desperate that we cry our hearts out to anyone to listen, to know of our anguish of our loss, and perhaps, and hopefully, help us - we are condemned as being too emotional, or too emotionally invested, or just plain labeled outright crazy. Particularly by people who seem to like to point out we are strangers to OUR FLESH AND BLOOD (?!) and so our love for them is, (especially when oozed out overly goopy) - what? - off, weird, or crazy?! So we should just leave them alone, wait til they feel us worthy enough or necessary, to allow in, or to maybe have some sort of positive emotion for, only if we possess some appealing traits though, aint that right!
    On the flip side, we are also criticized/condemned, if we're quiet, withdrawn, stoic, if we're distant due to fear. If we reject our children as a pre-emptive measure to avoid being rejected first, or because of extreme brain washing, or threats, to not recognize ourselves as the mother of our child(ren) and thus feel we have no right to them, so it's not rejecting in the way of "I don't want you", it's a "I'm not your mother, I have no right to you"/I was threatened with harm if I had contact with you".

    So tell us, oh so self affirmed superior ones, WHAT THE HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO, that is neither option A nor option B, that would be PERFECT, in order for there to be MUTUAL respect, since we deserve it too, and for there to be MUTUAL comfort, since hey guess what, we deserve that too!

    You can't answer that, because it's not for you to dictate the ways of any other individuals lives! Especially those affected by something as profoundly jaded, and heavy, as adoption! Having relationships is just as much about compromise, a give and take, and sharing, as it is mutual respect and comfort! And when it comes to adoption, both sides have equal right to all of that!

    Maybe what Colin's mom has done has made Colin uncomfortable! Well you know what I don't imagine it's very comfortable for her either, but then we mothers are supposed to be the uncomfortable ones, the unhappy ones, because we're marked with the big red letter A - Abandoner, ever condemned as guilty, and deserving of all blame, shame, whatever other insults the hurler so prefers to hurl, the rejection, shunning - THE HATE! Right?!

    ReplyDelete
  74. J.L said:"Clearly you people doing that have NEVER loved someone so much, that you have a shared bond with, whom you are being rejected by for NO just reason! When you know you aren't dangerous, you aren't out to get that person, when all you want is the allowance to show them how much they mean to you, how much you love them, and as such, want to be a beneficial part of their life!"

    Sadly, any stalker for any reason could have used these exact words, which are NOT how the person being stalked and harassed sees the situation. When you truly love someone, you try to have empathy and put yourself in their place. Your adult adoptee does not know you, does not know your good intent, and may have things going on in his life having nothing to do with you that make it difficult to respond as you would like at this time.

    Some adoptees do not want a relationship, ever. If "do not contact me again" is clearly spelled out, as mothers we have to honor that, hard and painful as it is. "No means no" in any relationship including reunion.

    Heidi overstepped boundaries once she got a clear "No". Some relationships are ambiguous grey areas where there is little response but no clear prohibition of contact, in which case it may be worth it to make cautious and infrequent outreach, but never publicly and never pressuring the adoptee for anything including a response.

    None of us want to be seen as stalkers, to think that our beloved child is struck by fear or disgust in hearing from us. Think how you would feel about repeated contacts from a former boyfriend you had clearly told you did not want contact with again, or even worse, a stranger who developed a crush on you. Thinking you are justified in doing that to your child is not love, it is delusion.Sometimes love does mean letting go and respecting the wishes of the other, whether we understand or not.

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  75. To J.L.

    You said, "Clearly you people doing that have NEVER loved someone so much, that you have a shared bond with, whom you are being rejected by for NO just reason! When you know you aren't dangerous, you aren't out to get that person, when all you want is the allowance to show them how much they mean to you, how much you love them, and as such, want to be a beneficial part of their life!"

    This happens ALL the time. It happens to f-moms. It happens to adoptees. It happens in romantic relationships. It happens in friendships.

    My f-mom does not owe me a relationship. I tried. I'm not going to keep figuratively knocking at her door.

    My mom made her choice. She chose to keep me a secret from her other children, and I have chosen to respect her decision. Why? I had a right to seek a relationship with her. But, I did not have the right to force a relationship onto her.
    If she ever changes her mind, she knows how to reach me.

    While you may not agree with Colin, he has made his choice. Can we be hopeful that one day he may wish to open communication with his f-mom? Sure. But, for right now, he isn't ready.



    ReplyDelete
  76. Kitta said @ 8/6 11:49pm
    @Lee,

    I never heard CUB say that mothers should always contact their children when the adult adoptee has said "no" to contact. The advice given was to consider that " a mother might,perhaps, send a birthday card once a year or every other year" as I wrote. The significant word being "perhaps"..


    Okay, sorry, I read it wrong - didn't mean to "sound" mean or anything, but Hey! I took a chance that she might turn around after 3 years of nothing... not your fault!

    J.L. said @ 8/7 1:32am:
    So tell us, oh so self affirmed superior ones, WHAT THE HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO, that is neither option A nor option B, that would be PERFECT, in order for there to be MUTUAL respect, since we deserve it too, and for there to be MUTUAL comfort, since hey guess what, we deserve that too!

    You can't answer that, because it's not for you to dictate the ways of any other individuals lives! Especially those affected by something as profoundly jaded, and heavy, as adoption! Having relationships is just as much about compromise, a give and take, and sharing, as it is mutual respect and comfort! And when it comes to adoption, both sides have equal right to all of that!

    Maybe what Colin's mom has done has made Colin uncomfortable! Well you know what I don't imagine it's very comfortable for her either, but then we mothers are supposed to be the uncomfortable ones, the unhappy ones, because we're marked with the big red letter A - Abandoner, ever condemned as guilty, and deserving of all blame, shame, whatever other insults the hurler so prefers to hurl, the rejection, shunning - THE HATE! Right?!


    Actually, my daughter has "no hate" for me, as per her letter (part of what I quoted above), she did say:

    I do appreciate the last letter you sent. It was very touching to hear about my birth. I am sorry for what you went through, with your parents, society & your guilty feelings. And I thank you for the medical information. I have never been angry with you for not keeping me. I have never felt abandoned. Quite the opposite, I have always felt your love for me, for making such a difficult decision!

    I have always thought of you in my head as a special angel that God provided for me and my parents. You mention in your letter at the time you gave me up, “How can this be in God’s plan for me… God is all-forgiving.” I feel like one of the reasons you were put on this earth was to have me, so that my parents who desparately wanted a child, COULD have one with your help. THAT was His plan for you!

    You say in your letter, “I tired of feeling like I am a bad birthmother.” Please stop feeling like this, and don’t ever think it again. I think you are an amazingly strong birthmother! I am so grateful you did this. I have had the best parenting, and the best life with my parents. I have always known how loved I am by both you and my family I was raised with.

    As I said before I am very grateful that you had me and sacraficed your feelings by giving me up for adoption. I never felt rejected by you, and I do not want you to feel that way now. On the contrary, I know you truly loved me and cared for me enough to make sure I had a loving family that could provide for me. And your wish came true, that is exactly what happened. I am with a wonderful loving family. I could not be happier. As I said in my previous letter, I do not have any holes that need to be filled, I do not or have never felt abandoned by you. I have known about you & my heritage all my life. I even know that you have twin sisters, and that I could have twins someday.


    So I "feel" love and respect from her and just hope one day she will want contact; I truly believe it's because of her amom - WOW! that lady is something else!! LOL! She sure as hell does NOT want me around...

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  77. to whomever wrote: "...leave him alone, you sound like a psycho, WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE...

    the COMMENTS ARE STILL CLOSED

    but I thought I would put up part of your anonymous comment because it reflects so much of what the outside world thinks of first mothers.

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  78. Wow! I published because that is news--James Loften, Hall of Famer, Green Bay Packer....Has this been published anywhere?

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  79. Wide receiver James Lofton was the No. 1 draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1978. An Academic All-America choice from Stanford, he was also an accomplished track performer and won the NCAA long jump title as a senior. Lofton’s speed and “soft hands” made him an immediate deep-threat receiver from the moment he entered the pros.

    So that's where Kaepernick got it!

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  80. I am a birth mother and If I reached out to my son, and he refused, I would respect his decision. Ask yourself why she used a national media source related to her birth son's career to reach out to him. Would someone that professes to love someone use such a public forum? She wants her 15 minutes of fame. Well she has had it, now it is time for her to show her love by respecting his decision.
    And the person that says the woman gave birth to him and could have had an abortion, so he owes her. Bull crap. I hope she never raised any children, can you imagine the guilt baggage those children are saddled with?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your reaction I think doesn't take into consideration the whole story. As for her leaving him alone, she seems to have done that, so why the nastiness towards another mother? Just throwing out words like "fifteen minutes of fame" diminishes her unnecessarily. As I recall, she tried to meet him another way, the press knew she was at the game, and it was impossible for her to have them not follow her around. By the time your comment ends--and you can hide behind "anonymous"--you are downright nasty towards Heidi.

      Let's all have a little more compassion to another mother, eh?

      Delete

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