Any parent would love to get a home makeover. Now, imagine you just adopted five children in addition to the two you currently raise, and you had to convert your carport into a living space to care for them all.
Meet Devonda and James Friday. The North Carolina couple was featured in a 2012 episode of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The Fridays got the home upgrade they sorely needed. What they allegedly did next, though, won’t win them any “Parent of the Year” honors.
The Fridays’ expanding brood caught the attention of the reality TV show, which featured them on an episode that aired in December of 2012. What made their story even more extraordinary is the reason the couple adopted five siblings. They didn’t want to see them living in separate foster homes.
Their good deed led to a 3,900-square-foot dream house, perfect for their suddenly large family. They also received a storefront lease for their nonprofit charity, House of Hope.
It’s what they did following the show that’s making the Internet rounds this week.
The two oldest children just told WSOC-TV their adoptive parents showed them the new door following the episodes in question. Plus, three of the younger siblings adopted prior to the show no longer live with the couple.
Chris Friday said he was sent to a group home because of his “bad attitude” a few months after the family’s episode was filmed but was told it was temporary…
His sister Kamaya Friday said she was also sent to a group home a few months later with the same promise of returning.
“You gave me away. Parents don’t do that. No,” Kamaya Friday told the television station.
Kamaya and Chris said within a year, the Fridays kicked out all five of their foster kids.
“My brother and sisters were 5-years-old. How can they get that much trouble where they have to kick them out?” Chris Friday said.
That wasn’t the only accusation hurled at the couple.
[The oldest children] also said their adoptive parents used gift cards they were given on the show for themselves rather than their nonprofit.
James Friday countered the allegations, saying the oldest children left on their own accord. He could not comment on the situation regarding the other three children because the case was currently in the hands of the Department of Social Services.
The storefront in question today is shuttered, according to the New York Daily News.
Over the years, the Fridays have adopted 30 children in all. The ABC show featured testimony from previous adopted children regarding the kind treatment they received from the couple.
The imbroglio points to a sad fact about both reality television and our culture at large. Not every heartwarming story we see on TV is what it appears to be.