It was love at first sight for the Akins family and their new little one. Thomas Rhett’s wife Lauren first met their now daughter during a solo visit to an orphanage in Uganda with the Christian charity 147 Million Orphans.
“When I met Willa, her story was pretty intense,” she says of their daughter, who was brought to the orphanage shortly after her birth in November of 2015. “All orphans have heart-wrenching stories, but it felt like this specific baby was ours. I think that the Lord knew what he was doing when he did not let us get pregnant.” While Thomas was busy on tour at the time, he found time shortly thereafter to go meet the little one who had stolen his wife’s heart.
“When I did, she didn’t want anything to do with me!” TR says. “I reached for her and she was like, ‘Who the crap are you with that beard?’ But I was astonished at how quickly I bonded with her—and how immediately, she just felt like she was my child.” For more on Thomas Rhett’s growing family, pick up the latest issue of People—available now. Photo: Instagram