Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Couple Kicked Out Their 5 Adopted Kids After Receiving Dream Home, 2 Kids Claim
Father James Friday denies the children were forced out of the home
A North Carolina couple featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition pushed out their five adopted children and split them up once the show built them their dream home, according to two of the children.
The show built Devonda and James Friday a new 8-bedroom, 3,900-square-foot house in December 2011, and the episode aired a year later.
The Fridays had just taken in five siblings, and to prevent them from living in separate homes, “we made a vow to keep the family together,” James Friday said in an interview with the show.
The Fridays adopted the siblings, whom Devonda called “The Fab Five,” in April of 2011, she said in the Extreme Makeover interview. All five children took on Friday as their last name.
The family converted an unheated carport into a home for the siblings and implored Extreme Makeover to help them. Some 3,000 volunteers turned up to help transform the house, according to a press release at the time.
“I was like, ‘Wow, this is ours and seeing they did our rooms how we wanted it, I was shocked that this was finally ours, something we could call our own,” Kamaya Friday, 19, tells PEOPLE.
“I felt like they were my mom and dad. I loved them like they were my real parents. I did,” Chris, now 20, told WSOCTV.
But Kamaya tells PEOPLE that James and Devonda kicked her and Chris out of the house within months after the show aired in December 2012. Their three younger siblings, at the time all under the age of 10, were also kicked out, Kamaya tells PEOPLE.
“My brother and sisters were 5 years old. How can they get [into] that much trouble where they have to kick them out?” Chris told the TV station.
Chris and Kamaya allege their adoptions were motivated by money, and as a hook to get on the show.
Chris and Kamaya Friday
“It’s about money with her,” Kamaya tells PEOPLE. “She’d get a check for all five of us from DSS [the Department of Social Services] and we’d say, ‘You’re getting money from us, can’t you get us clothes?’ We were in the same clothes all the time.”
James Friday tells PEOPLE that the children had plenty of clothes. “There was never a time they didn’t get what they needed,” he says.
Chris says he was sent to a group home because of a bad attitude a few months after recording the show, but Devonda and James said it was temporary.
“Why did I have to leave? I just didn’t understand it,” he told WSOCTV. “And it made me feel not wanted, you know?”
Kamaya says she never wanted to leave, and shortly after Chris’s departure, she too was sent to a group home. Her younger sisters and brother were removed soon after, she says, and placed in separate foster homes, including the twins, who are now 11.
James Friday denies the allegations that he and his wife kicked the five siblings out of their home tells PEOPLE that Chris and Kamaya wanted to leave the home.
“They asked us to leave,” he says. “We had some issues in the home before the show, after the show.”
James confirms that the three younger children were no longer in the home but he would not say why.
“The allegations put them [the younger kids] in a negative light, that’s why my wife and I choose not to talk about any of the particulars,” James says.
All five of the siblings remain his legal children, he says.
“Yes. We didn’t sign over rights,” he tells PEOPLE.
Kamaya described to PEOPLE a 2015 court hearing that she and Chris attended, where James and Devonda said they wanted to have the three younger children back in their home.
“The judge got upset and said that it’s been a whole year, you have not gotten in contact with them, not bought them anything and now you want them back?” Kamaya says. “He was like no, you can’t get them back after all this time, that is adding more trauma to the situation.”
James confirms to PEOPLE there was a court hearing involving the three younger children, but Kamaya and Chris’s depiction of the hearing isn’t true. When asked if he plans to have the three younger children rejoin the family he says:
“It’s in court right now. DSS is going to make a decision, for the children. I’m not going to comment any more.”
Two calls to the Lincoln County Department of Social Services in Lincolnton have not been returned.
In an interview with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the couple said they had taken in 30 foster children over the years.
Kamaya says she and her siblings were born to a biological mom who had drug issues, which led to their placement into the foster care system. Since leaving the Fridays, Kamaya is now settled in the home of a woman whom the teen considers a mother figure and role model. Her siblings are all in separate homes.
Chris Friday and Cathy Davis
But the Fridays’ rejection has left lasting hurt.
“I feel like I push people away, I don’t trust people,” Kamaya says. “If a guy is interested in me, I feel like, ‘I’m not wanted, nobody wants me.’ It’s hard to create relationships with people.
Kamaya plans on changing her last name from Friday to the last name she was born with, Brooks.
Chris, who has been living the last several years with the family of Cathy Davis since going in and out of group homes and homeless shelters, plans on changing his name to Davis later this week.