The couple was recently released from prison after pleading not guilty and serving two years. Now the couple is finding that leaving the country is becoming nearly impossible.
Iris Botros and Louis Andros, a Christian couple, says they went to Iris's native Egypt to adopt twins. Egyptian officials say they violated Islamic law forbidding adoption and jailed them for more than two years.
"It was really bad," Iris's brother, Shawn Botros said. "It's really bad. She's hurt, she's confused, [and] she's scared. It's very hard to lose everything you worked for, to be in prison, different country. It's mixed emotion."
The couple was released three weeks ago but Shawn says they're stuck in Egypt.
"They can't leave the country because they have [a] $20,000 fine for each one of them," Shawn said.
Iris tried to return to Durham. She tried to find a way to pay her fine and return to Durham with her husband. Her green card was almost finished in April so she also is dealing with that issue.
The couple opened a Greek restaurant in a building in Durham shortly before they left for Egypt. The business didn't last long.
Shawn says the family has spent up to $200,000 in legal fees, living expenses in Egypt and keeping the couple's Durham house afloat.
"We had a little property owned by my dad," Shawn added. "We sold it -- tried to cover the expense."
Family and friends have collected enough for one of them to come home, but the couple will only return together. Shawn is asking for everyone's prayers and is hoping to see his sister again.
"It's very bad," he said. "You can see your sister, your brother-in-law all these years and you know they are going through a hard time too."