KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the Guidino family, the work at their mechanic shop is nonstop.
Deyanira Gudino's father works to fix engines, mirrors, replace tires, and other parts to make sure it's the right fit for customers' cars.
But there was something bigger in their lives stalling.
"It's something we've been waiting for for years and it's something we wanted ever since we arrived in the United States," Deyanira Gudino said.
At nearly two years old, Deyanira and her parents moved from Mexico City to Kansas City.
"I’ve always said I love my country (Mexico) but thanks to God, this country has given me the opportunity to give my children a place and give them a chance to go to school," Deyanira Gudino's mother, Azucena Cruz said. "Something we couldn’t do in our country.”
The transition wasn't easy and oftentimes scary.
“It’s very difficult because when she (Deya) arrived here, she was going to turn two years old and when I had to work, I had to leave her," Cruz said. "I remember I enrolled her in an army nursery where she could stay all day."
Deyanira said the hardest part was feeling safe. Her parents would stay in much of the time unless it was a necessity to go out.
"We would go wherever we needed to go but we would never travel the U.S.," she said. "We would never do any of that exploring stuff because they were always in fear that something could go wrong."
The language was also a barrier.
"We had no clue how to communicate with anyone here. And it was very difficult for me to learn once I started school because at home, all we spoke was Spanish," Deyanira said. "The little bit of English I knew, I had to help my parents translate, even just going to the store, finding something, anything that my parents had to speak English for. I had to use my little bit of language that I knew to translate for them. So it was really difficult for all of us, but eventually, I started learning a lot more English. And they got used to being here, so they adapted to the language a little so they started understanding the basic words in English."
For roughly 10 years, they've been working on becoming permanent residents, and recently Deyanira received the phone call they'd been waiting for.
"We were just so happy and full of emotions whenever we received the call saying that we were residents," she said.
But it wasn't her parents who heard the news first.
"I was the one that actually got the call and I just wanted to find a nice way to surprise them," she said.
And she did. She and her younger sister, Carmen, had gifts waiting for their parents, recording their reaction when they found out they were now residents of the United States:
"It was really exciting for all of us and I was just full of emotions," Deyanira said.
"We were at a party and my daughter was reading me the comments," Cruz said. "I cried all day, knowing that so many people were sending us blessings, that they wished us the best.”
For Deyanira, it's a moment of resiliency and perseverance.
"I really fought for everything that I have now, so I know now that I have my residency nothing else is really going to stop me," she said.
And it's not just for her, but her parents.
"They sacrifice so much leaving their country to give me a better future," Deyanira said. "I definitely have done everything I have done for them because I know that it's all they wanted to see me succeed."
And that's still the case.
“Well very emotional, happy, more than anything for my family. Well because it’s 20 years that we can’t see our family. That my daughter (Deya) more than anything didn’t have the opportunities that citizens have, that people who with documentation have," Cruz said.
The biggest message they have for others? Keep going.
"Don’t give up. It is possible for things to be done if someone comes to country and they come to do them right," Cruz said.
"Don't stop fighting," Deyanira said. "Just keep believing things will get better, 'cause things will get better."
Deyanira's sister shared the reaction video on TikTok and it had more than 1.1 million views. Several comments flowed in for the Gudino family congratulating them and sharing their excitement.
This story was first reported by Rae Daniel at KSHB in Kansas City, Missouri.