HGTV crews and a group of more than 100 cheering volunteers marched up to the Rosedale home of Jessica Mosley and her five children Thursday morning to deliver a major announcement: The family had been selected by hit reality TV show, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" to receive a new home.
And they would need to leave immediately.
Crews got to work right away moving the family's stuff from the Enger Street home, in a neighborhood west of Calloway Drive and south of Rosedale Highway. They were preparing to demolish the three-bedroom house and build a new John Balfanz home in its place in the span of four days. The entire neighborhood was taken over with heavy equipment, tents, trailers and storage bins as show producers and local volunteers got the project underway. A big "Move that Bus" moment will happen on Wednesday, when the family returns from a temporary stay at an undisclosed location and gets to see their new home.
"It's overwhelming. It's definitely surreal," said Mosely, a 37-year-old social worker who stood surrounded by her children and mother, Pam Chapin, in a neighbor's driveway. Just hours earlier she found out she was getting a new home.
Mosely, a Bakersfield High and Cal State Bakersfield graduate, is a social worker for Kern Bridges, a local foster care and adoption agency. She has two biological children, Makynzi, 15, and Jordyn Mosely, and in 2017 adopted three siblings — Cheyenne Gregory-Mosely, 16, Annie Mosely, 12, and Miguel Mosely, 11 — after meeting them on a foster care campout.
Last year, the family of five moved in with Mosely's father into what Mosely described as their "forever home." But three months later, right before Christmas, Mosely's father died suddenly in a motorcycle accident. Since he bought the home with a veterans loan, it couldn't be passed onto Mosely and the family was forced to leave, Mosely said.
They've since been living with her mother in Rosedale, where the children share two bedrooms. Mosely shares a room with her mother and often sleeps on the couch.
And the family of seven shares one shower.
CEO Greg Balfanz described the weeks leading up to Thursday as "controlled chaos," trying to organize the moving pieces, including subcontractors, volunteer laborers, permits and materials. Balfanz said it typically takes six months to build a new home.
The John Balfanz company had been contacted months earlier to participate in the show but didn't learn of the family's identity until a few weeks ago, when they were shown video footage of the Mosely family.
In a surprising twist, Balfanz's public relations partner, Vali Nemetz immediately recognized Mosely as the social worker who helped her adopt her daughter several years ago.
Nearly all of the work and materials going into building the new home are donated or work is done with volunteer labor. Construction will happen around the clock over the next few days and local restaurants are donating food to feed 125 people 24 hours a day. Additional community volunteers are still needed for everything from passing out water to actually building the home.
The reality-TV show is described by one entertainment news service as a "feel-good/tearjerker" series. Each episode focuses on a family in need of a home. It then takes viewers through the home building process, showing the many volunteers involved in making the family's dream come true.
Formerly aired by ABC, the show was canceled after nine seasons in 2012. It was recently revived by HGTV, the cable-TV network known for its focus on home remodels, repairs and families looking to buy in an exotic location.
When asked what they look forward to in a new home, Mosely's kids were quick with their replies.
A bigger closet.
A second bathroom.
And for Miguel, the youngest and the only boy in the bunch: "My own space."