The welcome home balloons were in full display for a family holiday reunion three years in the making.
For the Chaparro family, the day after Christmas was full of joy and celebration when they received the best gift - the return of their mother Maria-Isabel Chaparro.
"I think that it's a miracle because she's supposed to be out for 10 years," Maria-Isabel's husband Cesar Chaparro said.
It was the first Christmas in three years that Maria-Isabel got to spend with her husband and children.
"For me, it's really hard," Maria-Isabel said.
Maria-Isabel remembers the day she was taken by U.S. immigration officials and deported to her native country of Honduras, where she hasn't been for 25 years.
"She went to take the kids to school and then she came back, that's when she was taken," recalled Cesar.
Maria-Isabel said the officials were waiting for her outside the family's Turlock home.
"When immigration came, three people were around me and I cried," she said.
Maria-Isabel said she was terrified; she didn't know if she was ever going to see her family again.
At the time of her deportation, Maria-Isabel's immigration attorney, who turned out to be a fraud, filed the wrong paperwork that led to her departure. Soon after Maria-Isabel was deported, the family hired a real attorney to bring her back.
"He removed the deportation because he showed proof that this lawyer committed fraud," Cesar explained.
Maria-Isabel was allowed to return on a probationary status and has a year to obtain her residency. She has a court hearing in April where she will find out if she can reapply for permanent residency. The family is hoping for the best and is also asking Congress to move forward on immigration reform.
"It's really great having my mom back after all this time," Maria-Isabel's son Alex Chaparro said. "Christmas was different because she was back."
For the time being, Maria-Isabel is cherishing every moment with her loved ones as she knows that they can be separated once again.
"I already went through it one time and I don't really want to go through that," Cesar said.
by Carlos Saucedo, CSaucedo@news10.net