July 26, 2018

Forgotten Fears

What are your fears? Everyone has fears, but adoptees have fears that are connected to the past. They try not to address those fears, and many times run from them. This avoidance is a coping mechanism. But, there are always places or things that set off warnings in their heads, even if they have no idea why.  

Once they know their fear, they try to avoid it at all costs.  Because, when they face the fear, they feel weak. This perfectly ties into being vulnerable because you need to tell someone your fears--if you ever want to be able to overcome them.

Do you avoid talking about your fears?

I used to have a phobia of ovens because I got a second-degree burn in China when I was six weeks old. But, I so badly wanted to face my fear because I wanted to be able to cook. It took time, but I watched my parents pull trays out of the oven, and one day, I was brave enough to put the tray into the oven on my own. Of course, one of my parents took it out, but as time went on, I was able to take out my own cookies. Now, I cook regularly and often use the oven. This may seem like an insignificant accomplishment, but to me, I had defeated the monster: the fear of getting burnt.

I still have other fears I’m working through, like my fear of hospitals, nursing homes, and snakes. Slowly, I’ve begun to tell others about how much I despise being in the hospital, and so, maybe someday, I’ll be able to tell you about overcoming those fears.

Your homework is to look at your own fears and consider if any of them could be a trigger, a “clue” to something you experienced from the past. It could be an emotion, an object, or even a place that makes you uncomfortable. Or it could just be simply the fear of never measuring up to another’s expectations. Next, go to someone you trust and begin to work through it. Please feel free to share your fears here, and we can process together. God bless!

P.S. If you click on the photo, you will see a picture of my scar. This is me when I was adopted. (I was 3 in the photo.)


  1. Juliese, This is such a moving post. Having lived many more years than you fears are something I am still working on. Fire was, unbeknownst to me, one of those until I had to watch a film during safety training at a school I worked at. When I was 11 my family home burned. We all escaped but we never really talked about that night much. In my late 40s I watched that film and fell apart. Your courage to share this part of your life is remarkable. Well done young lady. Leslie McAllister,

    1. Hi Leslie, this is such a helpful comment. It is amazing how a single event can cause so much fear isn't it? I can't thank you enough for sharing your story!
      God bless, Juliese


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