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Family First - Part 2

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- Meeting these three children was a fortuitous event for Chief Marshall and Tammy, but there were certainly more steps to be taken. So, in mid-February Chief Marshall and Tammy began started visitation with the children.

"The first visit was a two-hour visit and the kids were very excited that day," Chief Marshall said. "They had been split up for two years at that point and were looking forward to some permanency. With the exception of my military drill weekends, we have visited with the children every weekend since mid-February."

Finally, on April 19th, the two younger children moved in with Chief Marshall and Tammy to their home in Carver, Mass and enrolled in the school system there.

The oldest child stayed with his foster family, as he was still hesitant about moving again. The visitations with him continued and Chief Marshall and Tammy wanted him to be ready on his terms.

"I think he needed the time on his own to process it and see if his brother and sister were happy," Marshall said.

After three months of visitations with the oldest child, the turning point they were hoping for arrived during a weekend in July.

"I booked a weekend away for us and all three kids," Marshall said. "We went to the water parks and climbed through a rope course. It was definitely a bonding experience."

After the weekend away, Chief Marshall dropped off the 11-year-old boy with this foster family, while driving home she received a message that she and Tammy had been waiting for.

"We dropped him off at his foster-mother's house and as we were driving home we got a text from her saying he was packing his bags and ready to make the move," Marshall said. "He moved in July 23rd and started school here in Carver Aug. 26th."

It had been more than two years since all three children had lived under the same roof. Chief Marshall and Tammy recognize how important having all three together is as they go through the next pre-adoptive steps.

"He was an integral piece of the family that was missing and we now feel complete," Marshall said. They're three great kids. It's exciting to see them go from three different homes to being together again. Moving forward we need to continue to show them and reassure them that we love them. This is a stable environment and a safe place for them."

While Marshall and Tammy continue the process towards legally adopting the three children, they've received counseling and support from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families to help them and the children during this transition.

The next step will come in December when a legal proceeding will take place to see if the children's biological father will agree to the adoption.

It's been a long road and while there is still a bit to go, Chief Marshall and Tammy are happy to have the children under their roof and excited for what the future will bring.

Chief Marshall reflected on the experience, saying, "There have been a lot of unanticipated things that we didn't realize going into the process, but on days where you see the children happy to be here and have some permanency, it makes it all worthwhile."