Thomas Rhett Tells Kelly Clarkson Adopting Daughter Willa Gray Was 'Such a Spiritual Thing'

Thomas Rhett and his wife, Lauren Akins, virtually appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show on Thursday, where the couple opened up about their journey to adopting their oldest daughter, 4-year-old Willa Gray. Rhett and Akins brought Willa Gray to the United States from Uganda in spring 2017 after Akins met her in the country on a mission trip. "I was in Uganda in 2016, and I had a picture of one of the babies there, and I had shared it on social media," she said. "And when I finally got to FaceTime (Thomas) that night, I was telling him her story, 'Babe, we know so many people who are trying to adopt right now, and this little girl needs a forever home.'"

"I was so moved," Akins continued. "The second I touched her, it was electric. I was like, ‘Oh, this little girl has just taken my heart.’ And I was like, 'Honey, we’ve got to find her her forever home. Like, I know that’s why I’m here — to get this girl to her home.'" Akins' story clearly moved host Kelly Clarkson, who couldn't hold back tears while listening to the couple's story. "You totally Oprah’d me right now," she said, fanning her face. "It’s so beautiful because I know that feeling. The moment you touch something, you hold something, it doesn’t matter if it’s yours or not, we’re a blended family, and you’re like, this is my purpose. It’s such a powerful thing."

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Rhett joined the conversation and shared that his wife wasn't sure who would adopt Willa Gray and he immediately suggested that they become her parents. "I had talked to her on the phone that night when she said that we needed to find her a home," he said. "It was after a concert, and I was going to bed, and I was like, 'We’ll bring her home.' I don’t fully remember even saying it; it was like such a spiritual thing for me that it just came out of my body. And literally two weeks after, we were having home assessments and talking to adoption agencies."

The Akins' are now a family of five — in August 2017, Akins gave birth to the couple's daughter Ada James in August 2017 and daughter Lennon Love was born in February 2020. "They're going pretty crazy," Rhett joked to Clarkson of his kids during quarantine. "Our kids, with the iPad, they get on YouTube and they go down the wormhole of the kid videos. I start looking and I'm like, 'What are you even watching? No more iPad. This is not gonna work.'"