Lauren Akins Recalls Meeting Adopted Daughter Willa Gray: ‘The Second I Touched Her, It Was Electric’
For Thomas Rhett and wife Lauren Akins, adopting daughter Willa Gray was a calling. During a virtual appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show on Wednesday (April 29), the couple told the story of how they adopted their eldest daughter from Africa.
Akins was on a mission trip in Uganda in 2016 when she shared a photo of herself cradling a precious baby -- a baby who would one day become their first child -- on social media. "I was so moved. The second I touched her, it was electric," Akins describes of meeting baby Willa, reducing Clarkson to tears.
Akins called her husband later that night and told him she felt compelled to find the baby a "forever home," noting that they knew many people at the time who were interested in adopting. After hearing the passion in his wife's voice, Rhett -- who was on the road when he got the call -- had a subconscious realization that the child was meant to be theirs.
"When I talked to [Lauren] on the phone that night and she said we need to find her a home — it was after a concert and I was going to bed — and I was like, 'We'll bring her home,'" Rhett recalls. "I don't fully remember even saying it. It was such a spiritual thing for me that came out of my body."
Two weeks after they made the decision, the Akins started the lengthy adoption process by consulting adoption agencies and having home assessments. They finally brought Willa to her forever home in May of 2017.
Willa and her sister Ada have inspired Rhett's, songs including the No. 1 hits "Life Changes" and "Remember You Young." The couple added a third daughter to the mix when they welcomed Lennon Love in February.
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