Colin Kaepernick’s Parents and Relationship with Him

The new Netflix series Colin in Black & White tells Colin Kaepernick’s personal story, and it also features his adoptive parents, Rick and Teresa Kaepernick.

The new show, which Kaepernick and Ava DuVernay co-created, focuses on Colin’s experiences in high school as an African American growing up in a community with a large white population. Additionally, Colin makes an appearance as himself, narrating the action and giving performances to the camera.

His parents are mentioned frequently even though he and his narrative are the main emphases. Teresa is portrayed by Weeds star Mary-Louise Parker, while Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman as Rick Kaepernick.

Who Are the Adoptive Parents of Colin Kaepernick?

Early on in Colin in Black & White on Netflix, Kaepernick’s parents are introduced to the audience. He tells the crowd that Rick and Teresa Kaepernick adopted him when he was a little child.

While Colin’s NFL career was in its early stages, his family’s tale was extensively covered. Although Rick and Teresa already had two kids—a girl named Devon and a son named Kyle—they had lost two boys, Lance and Kent, to heart problems.

When Colin was five weeks old, they made the decision to adopt him. Baby Colin may not have been their first choice, but they brought him into their family when he was presented to them by a nurse, according to Colin in Black & White episode 6.

In a piece written by Teresa and published by ESPN in 2013, Teresa recalls the first time she saw Colin. I’ll never forget that day, she said. He was dumped on the ground after being carried in a baby carrier. There was the birth mother. After giving her a cursory peek and receiving her approval, I simply removed him from the carrier. I began sobbing as soon as I picked him up. We hugged her firmly. She needs a few more minutes as well. Then we walked away.

Colin Kaepernick’s Unique Journey: From Adoption to Activism

Early Life and Adoption

Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback known for playing six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, was born in December 1987 to Heidi Russo and adopted at six weeks old by Teresa and Rick Kaepernick, a couple from Wisconsin. Russo, who was 19 years old at the time of Colin’s birth, described the decision to put her son up for adoption as one of the toughest choices she ever made. Teresa and Rick already had two biological children and had lost two others to congenital heart defects.

Growing Up Biracial in a White Family

Colin, who identifies as Black and biracial, has expressed his experiences growing up in a white family. These experiences were portrayed in the Netflix series, “Colin in Black & White,” released in 2021. Despite the love he felt from his adoptive parents, Colin spoke candidly about the challenges, mentioning incidents such as his mom’s resistance to him getting cornrows, calling the hairstyle “unprofessional.”

Family Background

Adoption ProcessAdopted by Teresa and Rick at six weeks old
Biological MotherHeidi Russo, shared her story on YouTube
Birth LocationWisconsin
Family MoveMoved to California due to Rick’s job
Rick’s CareerLongtime career in the cheese industry; planned to retire in 2015
Teresa’s CareerWorked as a nurse
Supporting CharitiesInvolved in Camp Taylor, supporting families with heart disease

Kaepernick’s Activism and Parental Support

Colin’s protest against racial injustice and police brutality by taking a knee during the National Anthem in 2016 ignited nationwide debate. Among his supporters were his adoptive parents, who publicly defended Colin’s actions and expressed their pride in his courage. Despite criticism from figures like former President Donald Trump, Teresa and Rick have been outspoken about their support for their son’s activism.

Family Bond and Learning Experience

The journey of the Kaepernick family has been filled with learning and growth. Kaepernick’s relationship with his parents is strong, yet he acknowledges the continuous process of understanding and adapting to his unique identity as a Black child in a predominantly white family. This complex dynamic was also explored in Netflix’s “Colin in Black & White.”

Key Points:

  • Colin Kaepernick was adopted by Teresa and Rick Kaepernick when he was six weeks old.
  • He identifies as Black and has been open about the challenges of growing up in a white family.
  • Colin’s adoptive parents have supported various charities, including those related to heart disease, which personally affected their family.
  • The family supported Colin’s decision to protest racial injustice by kneeling during the National Anthem.
  • Kaepernick’s unique upbringing and its impact on his identity were portrayed in a Netflix series.

READ MORE: Everything About Eugene Daniels: Net Worth and Quick Facts.

Rick and Teresa relocated their family from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, to California when Colin was four years old. Colin maintained a 4.0 GPA while participating in basketball, baseball, and football for John H. Pitman High School in Turlock, California.

Rick, who once held the position of Senior Vice President of Growth and Development at Hilmar Cheese Company, spoke to ESPN about how the adoption affected their lives with Colin.

He stated: “Everything went pretty well. I am aware that adoptions rarely go well, yet they did. Colin’s adoption was never a source of contention for him. The only distinction is that he has a somewhat darker complexion than we have.”

Who Are the Parents of Colin Kaepernick?

Heidi Russo, a nurse from Thornton, Colorado, is Colin Kaepernick’s birth mother. Colin was born to Russo, a Caucasian lady, in Milwaukee in 1987 when she was just 19 years old. An unidentified African-American guy is Colin’s birth father.

Russo has repeatedly written to Colin over the years, claiming to be his birth mother, but Teresa has urged her to stop, according to ESPN.

Colin’s mother was never introduced to him. He remarked, when asked why he chose to maintain his distance before Super Bowl XLVII: “It’s not really a matter of respect. Just know that is my family. I’m done now.”


The story of Colin Kaepernick’s life, from his adoption to his career in the NFL, his activism, and the support from his family, paints a rich and complex picture of a man navigating racial identity and societal issues. His family’s journey illustrates a shared commitment to growth, understanding, and love, making Kaepernick’s story an inspiring tale of resilience, acceptance, and change.

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