If a picture is worth a thousand words, then photos of Alexia "Nini" Lynch's former home could write a book. Her new mother hopes to change that.
Ami Lynch and her husband adopted four-year-old Alexia in October from "All of God's Children" orphanage in Haiti. The couple have two young biological children, but decided five years ago they also wanted to adopt.
The Lynch's endured a number of adoption heartaches before finding Alexia. When a series of local and national adoption attempts fell through, the couple began looking outside the country.
With the help of Wichita-based Global Vision Citadelle Ministries (GVCM), the Lynch's were finally able to adopt Alexia after three years.
[More information on GVCM and Alexia's orphanage can be found under 'Related Links' at the bottom of this article.]
Ami says all the reading and studying couldn't prepare her for what she'd see on the trip to pick up her new daughter.
"It's just lots and lots of hungry people and starving children," she said.
When Ami Lynch brought Alexia home to Wichita, she vowed to help the other orphans left behind.
"When I got home, I told my husband there were 50 children sleeping on the floor in a building no bigger than our house," Lynch said. "It's just heartbreaking."
Lynch says the children were living in an old sheep barn. The kitchen consisted of a lean-to covered with tarps, braced against the side of the building. There was no electricity or running water.
GVCM is part of a missionary project helping build a new orphanage for the 50 children, of whom Alexia was once a part. Construction is already underway on a 2-story brick building that will be able to house 300 children when finished. It will have running water, electricity, and a functioning kitchen.
But it will take $30,000 to put a roof on the new building. That's where Lynch hopes she can help.
After returning to Wichita in October, she began brainstorming with friends how to organize a fundraiser and auction benefiting the other children of Alexia's orphanage. When word got out, the project quickly took on a life of its own.
This Saturday, Jan. 31, the Broadview Hotel will host a live and silent auction to benefit the "All of God's Children" orphanage. It begins at 7:00 pm.
Of the dozens of donors to come forward, one man is donating his prized '97 Mustang Cobra Racer. With its 2004, 803 HP Turbo engine, it's valued at an estimated $70,000.
KAKE News contacted the donor, who asked to remain anonymous. He said he was touched by the Lynch's story and wanted to help children.
The Lynch's say they are overcome by the outpouring of support.
As for little Alexia, her future is bright in Kansas. She is flourishing in her new home, is starting to learn English, and will enroll in kindergarten next year in Goddard.
And it turns out Alexia is not the only child from her orphanage now living in Wichita. Another six children have come to live in the area in recent months.
Ami Lynch says she hopes to give the other orphans in Haiti a chance for a brighter future.
"All these people have so little, but they are willing to give you everything," Lynch said. "They don't know me. But since I came from America to see them, they will give me their last morsel of bread."
"My goal is to help them," she said.