A nine-year veteran of the police force and foster mother to over 30 children, Devonda Friday and husband James didn't think twice when they got a call to provide temporary care to a boy being transferred to a group home. They had no idea this call would change their lives. The teenage boy showed them a video of his siblings, begging them to help keep the five of them together. Before they knew it, Devonda and James were making room for all the youngsters to join their own two children.
In her career as a police officer, Devonda had repeatedly seen kids mistreated. She had her "aha" moment when, on a call, she saw a little girl bleeding from her cheek, and knew she had to do something to help the children of her community. She immediately called her husband, and they decided to become foster parents to give kids like that little girl a fighting chance at a better life in a loving home. But in 2005 Devonda was viciously attacked; it took her a year to heal physically. However other doors also opened for her: She switched careers, got a degree and, over the years, along with James, fostered dozens of children, raised their own biological child and adopted another youngster. In May 2010, they met Chris, the oldest of five siblings separated in the foster care system. The first night they met, Chris showed the Fridays a video that social services had created of the younger siblings to encourage their placement. This was a life-changing moment for the Fridays, and they began their journey to adopt all five children. Initially their request was turned down because their modest ranch home didn't have enough room, so the Fridays converted their carport into two makeshift bedrooms and sold their van to offset expenses. The adoption was finalized in 2011. Now "EMHE" will celebrate the spirit of Christmas by giving the Friday family a new spacious home for the holidays