We’ve all heard the saying, “defying the odds.” Well, Adam Lynn did not set out to defy the odds. In the beginning, he was too young to even know what that meant. He was just trying to survive. When Adam was still a kid, he had pretty much seen it all – abuse, family violence, drugs, death, unstable living conditions, and financial struggles. As he talks about his life, there is not even the slightest hint of judgement or blame.
His reasoning is simple, “My mother made some poor choices in partners, and there were some difficult times that affected my life in a lot of ways. But she was one of the most giving, loving people I have ever known.” Adam readily admits to making his own share of poor choices, but he used his mother’s legacy of generosity and compassion as the foundation for himself and his family. It is her legacy of love that now defines his life.
Adam met his wife Lindsay just after he became a single parent, having gained legal custody of his niece, Kayla, whose biological parents were unable to care for her. Adam and Lindsay married in March of 2017 and together completed the years-long adoption process that began when Kayla was 8 years old and ended happily in July 2018 with her adoption at the age of 13.
The love and pride in Adam’s voice is unmistakable when he talks about his daughter. “She’s 14 now, goes to St. Augustine High School, plays soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, and flag football, takes all honors classes, and has straight As with a 3.85 or higher GPA.” The Lynns also welcomed son Carver, now 17 months, and are expecting the birth of a third child shortly. But their commitment to children extends much further than their own family.
Adam started the Island Christmas Toy Drive in 2015. “A friend and I had heard of a family that needed some help,” he says. “It was about a week before Christmas, so we decided we’d do whatever we could.” They were then contacted by the Children’s Home Society with a list of about 60 additional children. CHS is an organization that works to strengthen family bonds and help parents and children reach their potential as a family, and Adam was familiar with CHS through the adoption process. “That first year we took care of 78 kids in 4 days,” he continues, “The next year it was 128, the third year more than 150. Last year we helped close to 200 children.”
He calculates that it takes an average of $100 to adequately sponsor a child through the toy drive and explains, “I give each sponsor an age and gender, a wish list, and a needs list. I also ask that the gifts be unwrapped – so we can exclude any inappropriate donations – but I like sponsors to include wrapping paper, bows, and tape.”
Adam is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Premier Properties, who help out by encouraging everyone to bring a gift donation to the annual holiday party. Adam then coordinates a donation drop-off day. “It’s held at the Coldwell Banker San Marco office. Tides Oyster Bar provides food and Ameris Bank gives us grills. We cook all day. Anyone who donates to the drive can eat.” He pauses, then laughs, “Usually, anyone who walks by can have something to eat.” Coordinating the event is a monumental task. Adam credits his wife for keeping him organized and his in-laws, Ronda and Curt Maxwell, for their ongoing encouragement and support in every area of his life.
Adam is also very involved with Take Stock in Children. “It’s a mentoring program that usually starts in 9th grade and continues through high school,” he says. “Graduating with a 2.5 GPA or higher and without any strong disciplinary actions means a college scholarship for participants.”
He believes in letting children know they are not alone. “High school can be hard for anybody especially if you don’t have a home life and structure,” he says. “No one there when you get home from school or when you go to bed at night, no one to make sure you eat dinner or do your homework, no one to take you to extracurricular events – that becomes normal to some kids, and that shouldn’t be the norm.” He also works with Florida Homestead Check, a company that donates 10% of its profits to help combat homelessness.
What is on Adam Lynn’s wish list this holiday season? “From the news, it can seem that our world is crazy and divisive. But if you just reach out and talk to your neighbor, you’ll see that none of that matters. We just need to get out there and help one another.”