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I was an illegal immigrant for a few years and when I got married (to a US citizen) we went through the normal green-card application path with a waiver.

(I think this is current but plz double-check: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/when-is-waiver-inadmi...)

That was in 2003 so I understand the process might have changed. However I don't believe it has changed that much. It was pretty straight-forward (all things considered - some lost paperwork and redoing of fingerprints). I choose to continue on the citizenship path one a baby was on the way and that too wasn't hard.

There are a number of non-profits that help advise in this area. I would recommend contacting EIIC ( https://eiic.org/ ) who helped me navigate the paperwork.

Just adding, based on comments in the parent thread, that maybe it was 'Advanced Parole' that I got.

During my process I did NOT need to leave the country and submit paperwork from abroad or anything like that.

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