A North Carolina couple featured on the 2011 season of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is back in the news and being accused of shameful behavior. Devonda and James Friday had seven children, five of the kids were siblings and had just been adopted. The family recorded a video of their small home and also their dreams of helping other families in need. Their story touched the producers of the TV show and the Friday family received several blessings. The first of which was the small home being renovated and made into an eight-bedroom mini-mansion complete with new furnishings. “Extreme Makeover” producers also rented a store for the Fridays to help them with their vision of charity work for needy families. In addition, the store was fully stocked with brand-new donated merchandise and the couple was given Sears gift cards in order to keep the store stocked. The family was ecstatic and the adopted children thought they finally had a family and real home. But according to the two oldest adopted children, it all came crashing down after the filming of the show was complete.
Two of the oldest adopted children, Kamaya and Chris Friday, are now adults and claim that their adopted parents betrayed them and reneged on their promise to keep the family together. The brother and sister maintain within a year after the filming was complete they and their siblings were given away by their adopted parents, Devonda and James Friday. “What they did to us was just wrong. [They] threw us all out,” Chris stated.
He was the first to go because it was said he had a bad attitude. Soon, he found himself in a group home away from his siblings. At the time he was angry and confused and said of that time, “Why did I have to leave? I just didn’t understand it. And it made me feel not wanted, you know?”
Soon thereafter his sister was also told to leave and she was placed in a different group home for the same reason. Within a year, all five adopted siblings were gone from the house for the same reason. “My brother and sisters were 5 years old. How can they get [into] that much trouble where they have to kick them out?” Chris said.
Chris and Kamaya feel that their adoptive parents were not motivated by love but rather by greed. For example, Devonda Friday got rid of her minivan and purchased a sporty Mercedes-Benz not suitable for transporting a large family. Also, there is controversy regarding the Fridays’ running of the store they were given by the TV show called House of Hope. The store was part of a nonprofit entity the couple had started and the “Extreme Makeover” production company paid the rent on the store. Chris Friday maintains that thousands of dollars in donated gift cards were spent by Devonda Friday for her own personal use. When he asked about using the gift card for purchases, his adoptive mother always refused.
In 2015, the Fridays appeared in family court in an attempt to get the three younger minor siblings back into their custody. Court records for the proceeding are sealed but according to Kamaya, the judge was not pleased with the couple. “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.
The Fridays denied the allegations made by Chris and Kamaya when confronted by local media. James Friday responded to the accusations by stating to WSOC, “That’s ridiculous. That’s ridiculous. We bought 200 pairs of shoes with those gift cards at Sears for a church uptown that was doing mission work. We’ve done no wrong.”
In addition he stated that the nonprofit House of Hope is still active and helping the community.