A: There are several dos and don'ts when setting out on the search for a missing loved one. Here are a the ones I consider most important:
Don't assume that anything you have been told is 100 percent true, good or bad. Take what you know as opinion, and keep your mind open for new facts. It has been my experience that every story has more than one version. Please leave room in your heart for the possibility that the loved one who is missing from your life may actually have an acceptable (or at least understandable) reason for being gone. I have seen many families healed from simply keeping an open mind and a willing heart.
Do search with your eyes open and your mouth closed. Too often, those in search of loved ones tell each and every person they encounter along the journey who they are looking for and what their relationship is to them. By doing this, you may be divulging more than your missing loved one has shared with their family, thereby ruining your chances of a potential relationship. Respect the privacy of those whom you seek out, and you increase your odds of a long-term relationship when you do locate them.
Don't limit the scope of your search. Wherever you last knew your lost loved one to be is where you start your search, but it is not where your search should stay. Think far and wide. We live in a transient society where people can move across the country as easily as across town. Like tossing a pebble into a pond, let your search efforts ripple out from the most obvious place to the least. By process of elimination, you will locate him/her.