“On the way to the airport, it was like Christmas Day,” Rhett shared with PEOPLE.
Adds Lauren, “It felt like a dream. I’ve dreamed of us all being on the same continent for so long. It finally feels like everyone is where they’re supposed to be.”
Everyone meet Willa Gray Akins! I can't believe our daughter is finally home🙌🏼 We have been in this adoption process for what seems like forever and are just so filled with joy that we are all finally home together! Thank you to everyone who prayed every single day for this sweet girl. The Lord blessed us with the most amazing little girl we could have ever dreamed of and we can't wait to watch her grow up! #daddyforreal @laur_akins
The pair started the adoption process in 2016 shortly after Lauren met their future daughter for the first time during a visit to Africa with the charitable organization 147 Million Orphans, which provides food, water, medicine, shelter, and education to vulnerable children in the name of Jesus Christ. While slogging through the complicated international adoption maze the couple decided to delay trying for a biological child, well, that plan quickly changed once Lauren learned that she was pregnant in December! The couple will welcome a second baby girl in August.
“When we began the adoption process, we said, ‘Let’s wait, let’s give this adopted child his or her time with us and then we’ll continue our family,’” Lauren told PEOPLE earlier this year. “So I was convinced it was food poisoning.”
YALL 😩🙌🏼😭💗 Our baby girl is hommmmeeeeee 🎈🇺🇸💙🇺🇸🎈 Thank you Jesus for bringing our family together on the same continent finally :) little cutie Willa Gray Akins came home yesterday after completely stealing our hearts in Uganda over a year ago & we're sooooo happy we just can't stand it 💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛 • • • **PARENTS OF THE YEAR: thank you mom & dad for bringing her home since this pregnant mama is officially grounded due to baby Akins #2 coming in August 😩💚💚 • • • **FRIEND OF THE YEAR: thank you sweet @kaileydickerson for capturing some of the most special moments for us & for traveling with me to Uganda and back😘💗💗 • • • ** our FRIENDS & our FAMILY OF THE CENTURY: y'all have walked through and prayed through every single moment of this adoption with us, were our ROCKS through it all, kept it a secret, and truly had faith & hope for us when we felt like we had none left. I could cry thinking about each one of you-y'all know who you are & we are beyond blessed with our community God has given us🙏🏼 we love y'all more than any words could come close to describing. I might just throw you all a giant party celebrating y'all 😭😭💪🏼🙌🏼😘😘😘😘 • • • BRB STILL FREAKING OUT OUR DAUGHTER IS HOME 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸😩🌈👼🏾💪🏼🎉🙏🏼😭🙌🏼💚🎈💗💗
What’s even cooler about this whole awesome situation is that Lauren’s parents were the ones to bring Willa home for good! You see, Lauren was just in Uganda but the adoption wasn’t complete yet and Lauren had to return to the United States for a prenatal appointment without little Willa in tow. Fortunately, Grandma and Grandpa were able to swoop in and reunite the little family quickly.
“It is very weird to be called ‘Dad’ by a little human being,” reflected the newly minted father. “But it is one of the coolest feelings in the world. Nothing beats that.”
We are over the moon for this family of three— soon to be four! In October, Thomas and Lauren will ring in their fifth wedding anniversary as the parents of two sweet little girls.
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