I am a USC, my wife is British. We met in the UK in 1993, applied for a fiancee visa in June of 1994, got visa in Aug 1995 and got married in Sept 1995 in the US. We lived in the US (Los Angeles) from Aug 1995 to Jan 2002.
During that time my wife applied for her GC. As part of that process she received her SSN and her work permit.
After several years, my wife finally received a stamp in her passport "Processed for I-551 Temporary evidence of lawful admission for permanent residence valid until Feb 10 2001. Employment authorized." We were told that this would do until she received her physical GC. However, her physical GC never arrived. After Feb 10, 2001 came and went, we went back to the INS office, where she received and got an extension of the I-551 stamp until Feb 09, 2002, and again we were told that a physical GC would be issued to us. That never arrived either.
During our seven years in the states, we had 2 children, so they are both USC. However, during that time as well, my wife's grandmother, mother and then sister all died within a short space of time. In January 2002, we made a decision to move back to the UK to help her ailing father, the only person left alive in her family.
Well, after being in the UK for seven years, now my mother and father are extremely ill and we are starting to make plans to move back to the US to help them in their last few years of their life.