Two days before Christmas, it was unclear whether Central Point resident Bonnie Miller's two grandsons who were held in Italy by their father for seven months would be back in the United States in time to celebrate the holiday.

Two days before Christmas, it was unclear whether Central Point resident Bonnie Miller's two grandsons who were held in Italy by their father for seven months would be back in the United States in time to celebrate the holiday.

Their father finally handed over Emanuele Amore, 5, and Nicolas Amore, 3, late Saturday to their California mother, Karyn Krause, Miller's daughter, more than a month after an international child abduction court in The Hague ordered him to do so.

The two boys, Krause and Krause's stepfather, Gary Miller, also of Central Point, arrived in San Francisco from Italy on Sunday in time to celebrate Christmas.

"I met them at the airport with a bunch of red and green balloons," said Bonnie Miller, who drove from Central Point to San Francisco for the homecoming. "It was wonderful."

The family spent Christmas at Krause's apartment in the east San Francisco Bay town of Albany.

"It was just the five of us," Bonnie Miller said. "I brought a (Douglas fir) Christmas tree from Oregon. We decorated it and had our Christmas."

Krause, 37, went to Ispica, a village in southeastern Sicily, on Dec. 6 to try to regain custody of her sons after her estranged husband, Carmelo Amore, 41, took them there to visit family.

The three had been due to return to California in July. Instead, Krause said, she received an e-mail from Amore saying he and the children were not coming back.

A court at The Hague ruled last month that the children had to be returned to California.

After the ruling, Amore and the children disappeared. Italian authorities later located them in Ispica.

When Krause first arrived in Ispica last week with her stepfather, a crowd of Amore's family, friends and neighbors surrounded the house, prompting a standoff with social workers and police.

Police initially chose not intervene so as to not frighten the children.

But on Saturday, they made it clear they would take the children by force if Amore didn't hand them over willingly, said Gary Miller, a director of development at Cascade Christian High School in Medford.

A California court will ultimately decide custody of the children, Krause said.

Krause, the children and Gary Miller flew from Catania, Italy, to Paris to San Francisco over the weekend.

"If felt very nice to be home," Gary Miller said Wednesday. "I'm glad the ordeal is over."

Krause returned to work Wednesday after a three-week absence, Bonnie Miller said.

The Millers plan to stay with the children in California until the weekend when they'll drive back to Central Point.

"I'll come back and be a nanny for them until school starts," Bonnie Miller said.

Krause and Amore met in Bologna, Italy, while she was living there and working as a travel writer.

The couple married in 2000, lived in Paris and then Ispica until November 2005 when they moved with their two sons to the United States.

They lived briefly with the Millers in Central Point before moving to Albany.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.