Adoption Bowl: Kaepernick & Oher Faceoff in Super Bowl XLVII

With Super Bowl XLVII on the horizon, football fans are focused on HarBowl – brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh, battling it out on the field in an attempt to coach their team to ultimate victory. Adoption fans, however, are focused on a completely different Super Bowl faceoff.

The Baltimore Raven’s Michael Oher and San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick are bringing their NFL adoption stories to New Orleans. If you’ve seen The Blind Side or read Michael’s book I Beat The Odds, you already know Oher’s story. After living with multiple foster families through the years, Oher moved in with Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, who eventually adopted him.

Drafted by Balitmore in 2009, the offensive tackle has been public about his story, raising awareness about homelessness and providing an inspiring, feel good movie for adoption advocates. He just missed last year’s Indianapolis Super Bowl, when the Ravens missed a field goal kick that sent the New England Patriots to Super Bowl XLVI.

By contrast, Colin Kaepernick has had relatively little to say about his own adoption story. Adopted at six weeks old by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, he grew up in California as the youngest of three children. Colin began playing youth football at the age of eight. He completed his first touchdown at the age of nine as his team’s starting quarterback. By the time he was in high school he was a three sport athlete playing not only football but baseball and basketball as well. When it was time for him to go to college he was offered numerous scholarships to play baseball, but his heart lied in football. He only received one offer to play football and that was from the University of Nevada where he flourished and eventually was drafted in the second round as the 36th pick in the NFL draft.

Kaepernick’s birth mother, Heidi Russo, who was 19-years-old at the time, has been much more public with her part in the story. After caring for her son for six weeks to keep him out of the foster care system, she chose the Kaepernicks as the family for Colin. She has since reunited with the Kaepernicks at a 49ers game, but Colin himself has made no move to meet her. Russo has been content to cheer him on every week, since Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith as the 49ers starting quarterback earlier this season.

This weekend, Kaepernick hopes to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory. Meanwhile, Michael Oher will be on the other side of the line of scrimmage, trying to stop him. Adoption fans may be tempted to cheer for both if their favorite NFL team did not make it past (or into) the playoffs. Those adopting from Samoa or interested in adopting from Samoa may also want to keep their eye on San Francisco’s Isaac Sopoaga. We are hoping for a great game and wish both teams a fun and safe evening!

Click the links above to find out about other adoption stories in the NFL. If you are interested in learning about any of MLJ’s international adoption programs, you can find more information here.

Heather Sokol is mother to four amazing, active children through both birth and adoption. She’s a little bit crunchy, always opinionated and sometimes speaks geek, but not fluently. She just translates for her geeky husband and partner in life, parenting, and Studio 27. Heather writes based on her own life experiences, which turns into a variety of topics from dating the hubby to girls’ night to family fun, and everything in between.
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MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.