Wili & Zul: Reconnecting Lives
Wili may not have recognized Zul when her first saw her at a barbeque party she hosted last summer because of her unfamiliar hair color, but the memories were still very much alive. After viewing the photos decorating her walls, and seeing himself in some of them with Zul, Wili knew.
“He cried on the way home,” Tomalin, Wili’s DSP, said. “He kept saying, ‘That’s my sister, that’s Zul,’ so we knew we needed to do something.”
InVision DSPs often go more than above and beyond to help transform the lives of the people they support. When Zul began indicating her intentions to reconnect with her brother, Wili, their respective DSPs started brainstorming ways for the two to meet more often and rebuild their connection to each other.
Wili and Zul were separated from one another when they were removed from their mother’s care several years ago. After spending time in group homes separately, they both came to be supported by InVision.
During their time with InVision, Wili and Zul were able to meet in group settings on a few occasions. After observing their interactions, it became clear to their DSPs that the two of them were mutually interested in rekindling their relationship. The meetings were pleasant, and they even chatted a little, but the group atmosphere at those events wasn’t conducive to the personal conversations needed to help Wili and Zul reconnect as siblings.
Working with Zul and Wili, their DSPs arranged a one-on-one dinner that would help propel them toward more meaningful conversations.
Wili and Zul’s DSPs chose the Goodnites Lounge at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Reading for the dinner meeting.
When Wili arrived, he again had trouble recognizing Zul, this time because of her braided hair. After a little encouraging from Tomalin—with some insistence from Zul—Wili understood Zul was his sister, and the four settled in comfortably for a meal. Zul led the conversation while they ate, but that wasn’t unexpected, according to Tomalin.
“Wili is quite shy normally,” he said. Wili’s shyness made for slow conversation, but it was still progressive with consistent eye contact and chatting between just the two of them.
It was Caliente night at Goodnites, so the group spent time on the dance floor too. Zul danced, but Wili was content to listen to the upbeat music and watch others dance their hearts out.
After enjoying the excitement on the dancefloor, the evening came to an end. Wili and Zul hugged each other, thanked Mwango—Zul’s DSP—and Tomalin for the wonderful time, and expressed an interest in further meetings.
Wili and Zul have no family left; they have only each other. As they came away from their first dinner meeting, their mutual desire to stay connected as siblings was voiced and heard by their DSPs who will continue supporting them as the two develop new plans to rebuild their relationship.
“We’ve discussed future visitations, and right now we’re planning on one of them hosting the other at their house for dinner,” Tomalin said.
The progress they’ve made so far is nothing short of heartwarming, and their DSPs Mwango and Tomalin—and everyone who has been supporting and cheering for Wili and Zul along the way!—have done outstanding work in supporting their visions. We all wish them the best as they continue re-establishing this very special bond.