Thomas Rhett and wife Lauren Akins adopted their oldest daughter, 4-year-old Willa Gray, from Uganda in 2017, and the events of the past week have led them to speak out about their experience with racism directed at their family. On Sunday, Akins opened up about her experience as a white mother to a black child, sharing that she wants to stand up for her daughter and lead with love.
"I have been nervous to post anything in the past and even now because of how some people believe that I as a white mother am undeserving or incapable of raising a black daughter," Akins began. "I believe that shaming comes from people who choose to see only my white skin and her brown skin and refuse to see our hearts and love for each other. That shaming has created such anxiety in me that I am afraid to share my heart on social media." Akins explained that she wants Willa Gray to know that she will stand up "not only for her, but for every single person who shares her beautiful brown skin." "I want to be her mother who raises her to know what it means to have brown skin and to be proud of it," the Live in Love author wrote. "I want to be her mother who doesn’t listen to the shaming of skin colors but instead listens to the Spirit of God who knitted every skin color together in their mother’s womb for His glory. Because the truth is: I AM HER mother who FIGHTS for her. I am her mother who celebrates not only WHO she and her two sisters are, but WHOSE they are and exactly who God created them to be."
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The 30-year-old admitted that it's "hard" for her to "sort out" what she wants to say to Willa Gray versus what she wants to share publicly and that some of her feelings will remain with her family. "However, I do believe I’m being disobedient to God if I don’t speak up against injustice and fight for change," she wrote. "I believe if I stay silent I am betraying my brothers and sisters. I believe if I stay silent I am betraying my daughter. I believe if I stay silent I am betraying the heart of God." She encouraged her followers not to remain silent and to "fight" with "the most powerful weapon of all: love."
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"Look to the One who created that weapon and follow His lead. Together, let’s be an army for love. That means speaking up loudly for injustices whether or not we share the same skin color, language, beliefs...the list goes on," she concluded. "I want my children to cling to the good. Love, peace, kindness, joy. I want them to BE the good. Injustice is evil. It breaks the heart of God. I pray He breaks every one of our hearts over this injustice until He returns." Rhett also shared the same graphic on his feed and offered his own message condemning hate and encouraging love.