With two whole weeks from the conference championship games to the Super Bowl, the media has to stretch pretty far to fill that space with content in order to feed the NFL-obsessed general public. This particular year has seen many different stories come to the forefront but the one that has really grasped my attention centers on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Various outlets have documented the fact that Kaepernick was adopted and to this day chooses not to meet his birth mom despite her desire to meet him. A local Fox station in Denver went as far as to interview Colin’s mom and air out her pleas to meet with him. Nothing like using someone else’s success to get on TV, huh? However, I became a little more intrigued when the most popular sports writer in America, Rick Reilly, took this issue and wrote a column on it.
Basic summary of Reilly’s column: Colin Kaepernick should get over whatever is holding him back from meeting with his birth mom and sit down with her for a few minutes in order to help heal the wounds that she lives with. Even though I disagree with Reilly’s opinion (more on this soon) he goes even a little further and speculates on why Kaepernick has decided to keep his distance, calls the reasoning Kaepernick actually gave him during Media Day as “odd”, and then shoots down a defense that he attributes to Kaepernick even though it is not fact that he even said it at all. Not what I expect out of one of my favorite writers. Basically, Rick Reilly crucified Colin Kaepernick in his column for a personal decision he has made.
I am not going to address the inferences and weak supporting details Reilly used in his story but rather I am just going to focus on his main point in that Colin Kaepernick should help his birth mom move on with her life by meeting with her. Let me say this first: I am not adopted and no one in my immediate family is adopted. Rick Reilly has an adopted daughter and he wrote a beautiful piece on the whole family going to Korea and meeting with the birth mom. Obviously, he is much closer to adoption than I am. There is probably even a bigger gap between him and I when it comes to adoption knowledge over writing knowledge. However, I just can’t seem to come around to his thinking.
Someone who was adopted had no control over being conceived. He/she had no control over being born. He/she had no control over who his/her birth parents were. He/she had no control over being put up for adoption. He/she had no control over who his/her adopted parents were.
An adopted person had absolute ZERO control over the events that the birth parents engaged in to bring about the circumstances that he/she would have to live with for the rest of his/her life. While many times it turns out for the best, that lack of control that an innocent baby/toddler had should rightfully be fully invested in that person once a cognitive age is reached.
I just don’t know how someone can’t respect the wishes of an adopted person who chooses not to meet the birth parents. For all of us who were not adopted we can’t begin to grasp all the emotions and thoughts that someone who was adopted must feel but we can kind of step back and put ourselves in the shoes of someone who was and think of a thousand reasons on why they would not want to meet their birth parents. Of course we can do the exact opposite as well and think up the same amount of reasons for wanting to meet them. But every situation is different and the decision to meet or not meet should rest solely with the person who was adopted…and no one else….not even a high profile sports writer.
Out of my friends who are adopted, I always keep a very open ear if they ever feel like sharing about it. I have definitely learned that everyone who I have talked to has had different experiences throughout their lifetime. I am fascinated by their journeys and feel lucky and humbled when they share. Listening to my friends has formulated the opinion I put forth in this post but I do fear offending anyone who has been adopted so please know that if I have I sincerely apologize. God Bless the parent (s) who give up their baby for a better life, God Bless the parents who adopt, and especially Gold Bless the babies/kids who are adopted. Don’t Blink.