When is the right time to start your people search?

Like many of us, perhaps you have someone missing from your life. It could be as a result of an adoption, foster care situation, divorce, moving to another town, a dispute, or simply because you lost touch with each other over the years. Regardless of why you are not in contact with an important person in your life, it is imperative to consider whether it is the right time to initiate a search.

Before looking for someone, consider your own current emotional state. Are you feeling so emotional and needy that you could be upset or irrational while you are looking? Are you prepared to handle the situation and the possible results, both positive and negative, if the person you are looking for is found? Have you considered that even if you find the person, they may not wish to be located or contacted? Do you know how you will feel when your search is over? How will they react when you find them? These are a few of the questions you need to ask yourself prior to searching for a lost person.

Having a support network is essential before initiating a search for a person. You should have a good friend or family member who can discuss ideas, feeling and results with you along the way. Just having a supportive person to bounce off can be reassuring during a stressful time and allow you essential opportunities to vent.

If you do not have a trusted friend or family member to confide in, consider joining an online support group to air your feelings and share the experiences of others in similar situations. Groups such as AdoptionOpenRecords2 at MSN Groups give you an opportunity to make contact with people you can relate with during this sensitive period in your life.

If you are feeling particularly vulnerable and anxious about finding a person, you should discuss your thoughts with a counsellor. Sometimes locating someone from your past can bring up difficult emotions, such as fear, love, anger or guilt. Your feelings are valid and you should share them with a trained professional prior to initiating your search for a lost person. Issues from your past need to be properly worked out before you start to find someone in the present.

Further, feeling needy is never the right reason to start searching for someone. Perhaps circumstances in your life have caused you to focus more on your past, such as a recent personal disappointment or loss. Your current circumstances need to be resolved to ensure that you are not looking for a lost person to try to fulfill some other deficit in your life. When you find someone from your past it will not solve any problems you may have at the moment. For example, trying to locate your school sweetheart because of the pain a recent breakup may not the best reason to initiate a search. Take your time, get over your current stress and then consider whether you really want to find someone from your past or whether you were just looking for a way to feel better. It is never suitable to seek someone when you are emotionally unstable because your neediness will be evident and could even deter the person you wanted to reunite with.

Try to think of how the person you are looking for may feel. Do they really want to be found? Will they be happy you initiated a search or will you cause them harm or distress? Although it does not always turn out to be the case, you should at least suspect that the person you want to find would appreciate being located. Perhaps they have started a new life and if you showed up, it could cause strain for them in their current situation. Be considerate of the person you want to find, as well as the world they may have created for themselves.

It is also essential to discuss finding a lost person with the people you currently share your life with. Perhaps making contact with that long lost love from your school days would cause your husband and children to feel insecure and unhappy. Or maybe your adoptive parents did not anticipate your desire to look up your natural family and should be prepared for the possibility. Although the final decision to locate a person remains your own, try to be thoughtful toward the feelings of the people in your current world. You must be open with your family and honest about your wishes even if they disagree with your search. After all, the possibility adding a new person or people to your life affects everyone else who is close to you.

Finally, if your search is for legal reasons you would be wise to employ a professional to deal with the matter. Legal issues can be tricky and it is best to consult with a solicitor and an investigator prior to attempting to handle them yourself.

Once you have considered your motives and timing, you are ready to find that person you miss. Although tracing a long lost person can be time-consuming and painstaking, the results could be the joy of that desired reunion with someone special. Consider the benefits of employing a skilled genealogist and investigator to simplify your people search and act as an essential buffer for organizing your reunion.