Finding Refuge

15-year-old Maryori Urbina-Contreras puts on her shoes in her bedroom as she prepares for the journey from her home in Waukegan to an immigration hearing at Chicago Immigration Court Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. Fleeing violence in her home country of Honduras, Maryori travelled alone for several weeks in 2014 before reuniting with her mother, who has been in the United States since 2001. Her ongoing immigration case will eventually determine if she is allowed to stay in the U.S. or be forced to return to Honduras. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

15-year-old Maryori Urbina-Contreras puts on her shoes in her bedroom as she prepares for the journey from her home in Waukegan to an immigration hearing at Chicago Immigration Court Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. Fleeing violence in her home country of Honduras, Maryori travelled alone for several weeks in 2014 before reuniting with her mother, who has been in the United States since 2001. Her ongoing immigration case will eventually determine if she is allowed to stay in the U.S. or be forced to return to Honduras. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Maryori looks into a bathroom mirror as she brushes her hair in preparation for her immigration hearing at Chicago Immigration Court. She currently shares a room with her two younger siblings, both born in the United States, in the apartment with her mother and stepfather. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Maryori looks into a bathroom mirror as she brushes her hair in preparation for her immigration hearing at Chicago Immigration Court. She currently shares a room with her two younger siblings, both born in the United States, in the apartment with her mother and stepfather. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Mother Tania Contreras Guerrero, center, prays with Maryori and her younger daughters Diana Ruiz, left, 11, and Valeria Ruiz, bottom, 6, as they prepare for the journey to Chicago for Maryori's immigration hearing. Tania was worried her daughter might be deported. Quietly, she said, “Don't take her from me, Lord. You know how much I've struggled. I don't want to lose her, to lose my heart.” (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Mother Tania Contreras Guerrero, center, prays with Maryori and her younger daughters Diana Ruiz, left, 11, and Valeria Ruiz, bottom, 6, as they prepare for the journey to Chicago for Maryori's immigration hearing. Tania was worried her daughter might be deported. Quietly, she said, “Don't take her from me, Lord. You know how much I've struggled. I don't want to lose her, to lose my heart.” (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Maryori is pictured as a young child in her home country of Honduras in a photo album kept by her mother at their home in Waukegan. Tania left their home in Honduras when Maryori was just a baby to look for work in the United States. Maryori was raised by her father and eventually her aunt, but said she spoke to her mother on the telephone almost every day. As she grew older, gang violence in Honduras rose to an all-time high and Maryori was never allowed outside alone except for school. When she was 12, she was robbed at gunpoint on her way to classes. Not long after, she witnessed three young men shoot an older man in the head over a cellphone. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Maryori is pictured as a young child in her home country of Honduras in a photo album kept by her mother at their home in Waukegan. Tania left their home in Honduras when Maryori was just a baby to look for work in the United States. Maryori was raised by her father and eventually her aunt, but said she spoke to her mother on the telephone almost every day. As she grew older, gang violence in Honduras rose to an all-time high and Maryori was never allowed outside alone except for school. When she was 12, she was robbed at gunpoint on her way to classes. Not long after, she witnessed three young men shoot an older man in the head over a cellphone. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

A rosary hangs on the wall of Maryori's bedroom Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015 in Waukegan. Without telling her family in Honduras or her mother in the United States, Maryori made the decision to travel to the U.S. with a group of strangers and carried this rosary on her journey. She was merely one of 68,000 unaccompanied children who flooded across the southwest border of the United States, causing a humanitarian crisis in 2014. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

A rosary hangs on the wall of Maryori's bedroom Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015 in Waukegan. Without telling her family in Honduras or her mother in the United States, Maryori made the decision to travel to the U.S. with a group of strangers and carried this rosary on her journey. She was merely one of 68,000 unaccompanied children who flooded across the southwest border of the United States, causing a humanitarian crisis in 2014. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

With tears in her eyes, Tania hugs her daughter before they leave for Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

With tears in her eyes, Tania hugs her daughter before they leave for Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

The family waits in the dark outside the home of Julie Contreras (no relation), a volunteer with the League of United Latin American Citizens of Lake County, in Waukegan. Julie is an advocate for several Honduran children who crossed the border alone and helped Maryori find a lawyer for her case and previously drove the family to other court hearings. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

The family waits in the dark outside the home of Julie Contreras (no relation), a volunteer with the League of United Latin American Citizens of Lake County, in Waukegan. Julie is an advocate for several Honduran children who crossed the border alone and helped Maryori find a lawyer for her case and previously drove the family to other court hearings. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Maryori, right, holds hands with her family as they again pray at the home of Julie Contreras in Waukegan before driving with her to court in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Maryori, right, holds hands with her family as they again pray at the home of Julie Contreras in Waukegan before driving with her to court in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Tania presses her hand into her face as she sits in Julie’s car. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Tania presses her hand into her face as she sits in Julie’s car. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Maryori holds her mother's hand as Julie drives the family to Chicago. Although Julie brought up many topics of conversation, the family was mostly silent. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Maryori holds her mother's hand as Julie drives the family to Chicago. Although Julie brought up many topics of conversation, the family was mostly silent. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

The family waits in line to go through security at immigration court, where photography of any kind is not permitted. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

The family waits in line to go through security at immigration court, where photography of any kind is not permitted. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Tania, center, hugs Maryori, left, as they experience a moment of relief after her court hearing. At the hearing, the judge postponed a decision until 2018. The family is flanked by Julie Contreras, far right, and attorney Christopher Helt, far left. Helt, who is working the case pro-bono, had assured the family this would only be a status hearing, but the process can be drawn-out and confusing, so they were still wary. Maryori is able to stay in the United States for the next two years. The judge urged her to “use this time fruitfully.” (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Tania, center, hugs Maryori, left, as they experience a moment of relief after her court hearing. At the hearing, the judge postponed a decision until 2018. The family is flanked by Julie Contreras, far right, and attorney Christopher Helt, far left. Helt, who is working the case pro-bono, had assured the family this would only be a status hearing, but the process can be drawn-out and confusing, so they were still wary. Maryori is able to stay in the United States for the next two years. The judge urged her to “use this time fruitfully.” (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Unburdened by uncertainty in the immediate future, Maryori shares a moment with her sister Diana outside immigration court as they look at photos on her phone. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Unburdened by uncertainty in the immediate future, Maryori shares a moment with her sister Diana outside immigration court as they look at photos on her phone. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Maryori, left, Diana, center, and mother, Tania, right, stand during mass as Valeria sleeps, at Lincoln United Methodist Church Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 in Chicago. The family is able to return to normal life for the time being. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Maryori, left, Diana, center, and mother, Tania, right, stand during mass as Valeria sleeps, at Lincoln United Methodist Church Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 in Chicago. The family is able to return to normal life for the time being. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Maryori Urbina-Contreras holds a candle lighter and extinguisher as she acts as an acolyte during mass with her family at Lincoln United Methodist Church Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 in Chicago. Her ongoing immigration case will eventually determine if she is allowed to stay in the U.S. or be forced to return to Honduras. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Maryori Urbina-Contreras holds a candle lighter and extinguisher as she acts as an acolyte during mass with her family at Lincoln United Methodist Church Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 in Chicago. Her ongoing immigration case will eventually determine if she is allowed to stay in the U.S. or be forced to return to Honduras. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

I accompanied 15-year-old Maryori Urbina-Contreras and her family from their home in Waukegan to an immigration hearing at Chicago Immigration Court in October. Fleeing violence in her home country of Honduras, Maryori travelled alone for several weeks in 2014 before reuniting with her mother, who has been in the United States since 2001. She herself was robbed at gunpoint on the way to school when she was 12She was only one of 68,000 unaccompanied children who flooded across the southwest border of the United States, causing a humanitarian crisis in 2014, and many ended up in Chicago.

Her ongoing immigration case will eventually determine if she is allowed to stay in the U.S. or be forced to return to Honduras. At the hearing in October, her case was postponed until 2018. For now, she can remain in the United States and continue her schooling and life with her mother, stepfather and two younger siblings. 

Here is a link to the in-depth story written by Colleen Mastony in the Chicago Tribune: 

Honduran teen, who entered U.S. as unaccompanied child, awaits word on fate