*Oh man. If this is true, it is what you would call a low-down, dirty, shame. No ifs, ands, or buts, about it. Do you remember the hit show, ‘Extreme Makeover Home Edition?’ I never missed it. It was one of my favorite shows. It aired for nine seasons and ended in December 2012. But during its heydey, host Ty Pennington led a group of designers who sought out one deserving family to get their home renovated over a one week period. The team worked like crazy to get the task completed in time, and never failed to deliver. And they looked so genuinely happy for the winning family.
Well one featured family, the Friday’s, had seven children in all, including 5 newly adopted siblings. And when you watch the video (scroll down) you will see how the loving parents were on screen telling the renovation team how they had adopted these children, who were biological siblings, but needed help so badly. Forward five years, at least two of the siblings are grown, and they say that after the cameras stopped rolling, their adoptive parents kicked them, and eventually the others, to the curb.
Now an investigation has ensued.
What made the show so awesome was the entire community would come out at the end; with all kinds of congratulatory signs, as the family — who was generally sent to a place like Disneyland (all expenses paid) while the renovations were being done, would pull up behind a HUGE bus that blocked the newly renovated home and the crowd would chant, “Move that bus!” And once the bus was removed, jaws would drop at the incredible, amazing structure that stood before them.
The family (along with the designers) and the cameras would then rush into the new dwelling, and room by room, we would get to witness their glee.
The Friday’s were featured on the show in 2011. And Devonda and James Friday are seen on camera, in a most pitiful voice saying, “We desperately need you,” to come help our family.”
Kamaya, who was 12 at the time and her brother Chris, 13, spoke on camera to Channel 9, who had also been on the scene when they won originally.
Both of the now adult siblings share their feelings on the happy win, as a scene from the family’s feature is shown.
“It was exciting at the time,” said Kamaya. “We got in the limo and we’re just riding up, hearing ‘move that bus’ and then seeing this big house.”
Big house indeed!
The family’s modest home in North Carolina had been renovated into an 8-bedroom mansion.
“I just felt like I was home,” said Chris. “I loved them like my mom and dad. I felt like they were my real parents,” he adds. The siblings even changed their last name to Friday.
And below is their new 3,900 square foot house, which James and Devonda still reside in today. In fact, property papers show that the house has more than doubled in value since it was originally built.
Segue to the parents. James Friday is shown talking to the renovation team at the time, on camera, saying, “We made a vow to keep the family together,” and his wife Devonda chimes in, rather convincingly, “And we made it happen.”
Chris and Kamaya tell it differently. They say only a month later the parents told them to get out!
“What they did to us was just wrong,” says Chris. And you can still see the pain of the memory in his face. Chris and Kamaya were sent to two different group homes because of a “bad attitude,” and each was told it would only be temporary.
A promise the parents didn’t keep.
“You gave me away. Parents don’t do that. No.” Kamaya, more angry that hurt, tells the reporter.
Both sibs say the parents were motivated solely by money…from Day One.
The TV show also contributed to the nonprofit agency run by the parents. But Kamaya and Chris say monies given to them specifically for the agency, was spent by and on, Devonda, for personal use.
Of course the parents tell a different story. When Devonda saw the cameras outside of her house, she is said to have stopped the Mercedes she bought soon after the show in the middle of the street and cameras show her turning around and driving away.
James Friday declined an on camera interview, but talked to the reporter on speaker phone calling the siblings claims “ridiculous.”
Kamaya and her brother Chris are interview by Channel 9 today.
Below is a feature of the family being chosen for ‘Extreme Makeover