A couple who participated in a home makeover show is now being accused of kicking out their adopted children immediately after they received their home renovation.
In 2011, James and Devonda Friday were parents to seven children, five of whom were adopted biological siblings. The Fridays created a video plea which they submitted to ABC, asking for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to help them renovate their house to accommodate their many children.
“We desperately need you to come and help us,” Devonda Friday says in the video.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host Ty Pennington and the rest of his crew proceeded to create a veritable mansion for the Friday family, and even created a storefront for the family’s local nonprofit.
However, shortly after filming, the five adopted children were slowly kicked out of the Friday’s house. The two oldest children, Chris and Kamaya, are now adults and are speaking candidly about the Fridays’ motivation for displacing them: money.
“I know it was all about the money. From the first day, it was all about the money,” Chris tells WSOC.
“What they did to us was just wrong. (They) threw us all out,” he says. Chris was apparently sent to a group home because of a “bad attitude,” but was told it was only temporary.”Why did I have to leave? I just didn’t understand it. And it made me feel not wanted, you know?”
Kamaya was sent away to a group home for the same alleged reasons, and their three youngest siblings were also kicked out of the house with the year.
“My brother and sisters were 5 years old. How can they get in that much trouble where they have to kick them out?” Chris asked.
Kamaya and Chris are also accusing the Fridays of misusing the funds given to them by the show in order to run their nonprofit store. Numerous items were donated by producers to the nonprofit store, including Sears gift cards, which Kamaya says Devonda used for herself.
“It was supposed to be a nonprofit store. She was supposed to put things inside the store. But it was used for her use.”
Chris also says that Devonda used to drive a minivan, but upgraded to a Mercedes-Benz shortly after the show.
When the WSOC crew showed up at the mansion (where the Fridays still live), Devonda stopped that very same Mercedes-Benz in the middle of the street before backing up and driving away in the opposite direction.
James Friday, however, agreed to a phone interview, where he asserted that Chris and Kamaya’s claims were “ridiculous.”
“Listen, no one kicked Chris or Kamaya out of the home,” he said. James asserts that Chris and Kamaya wanted to leave.
When asked about the other three children, James simply said “That’s a DSS and social service matter.”
In 2015, James and Devonda actually went to court to try to get their five kids back — a move which, Chris claims, was still motivated by money.
“The judge he gets upset and is like, ‘You leave these kids life for a whole year, then try to come back a year later and say you want them back. It doesn’t work like that,’” Kamaya said.
At this point, all five kids are living in separate homes. Now that they are grown, both Chris and Kamaya say they have no intention of keeping their last name, which was legally changed to “Friday” after their adoption.
It’s unclear how this new information will affect the Fridays, but the evidence doesn’t look especially favorable for them.