Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins appeared on Thursday’s at-home edition of The Kelly Clarkson Show and told the story of 4-year-old daughter Willa Gray Akins’ adoption.
Akins told Kelly that she had “always talked about adopting” her “whole life” and that her mom is adopted. She noted, “I just thought it was really cool. We’d talked about it off and on, but it wasn’t something that we had sat down and had, like, a full-on adoption conversation.”
Lauren then explained how she traveled to Uganda with the organization 147 Million Orphans in 2016 and met a baby girl. After posting a photo of baby on social media and talking to her husband via FaceTime, Akins knew she had to find the child her “forever home.”
Atkins says, “I was, like, so moved. I mean, the second I touched her, it was, like, electric. I was like, ‘Oh my word. This little girl has just taken my heart.’ I was like, ‘Honey, we’ve gotta find her a forever home. Like, I know that’s why I’m here is to get this girl to her home.'”
As Clarkson listened to the story, she started to cry. saying, “Oh my God. OK. You totally ‘Oprah-ed’ me just now. I did my own makeup and this is not waterproof,” the singer and host said while wiping away a tear. “It’s so beautiful because I know that feeling. As a mama, you touch them and you hug them. It doesn’t matter if it’s yours or not. We’re a blended family. You’re like, this is my purpose. It’s such a powerful thing.”
Thomas said that he recalled talking to his wife after a concert and just knowing they had to bring the child home, “I don’t fully remember even saying it. It was, like, such a spiritual thing for me that it came out of my body. Then, literally two weeks after, we were having home assessments and talking to adoption agencies.”