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Black Friday has come and gone, as has Cyber Monday. But if you really want to give a gift that keeps on giving, there’s Giving Tuesday — a day focused on donating to worthy causes during the holiday season. For Thomas Rhett and his wife, Lauren Akins, that worthwhile effort is 147 Million Orphans.




Lauren shared a post on her Instagram page to encourage her followers to consider donating to the charity that provides food, water, clothing and medicine to orphans in Uganda. In the process, though, Lauren took us all on a trip down memory lane that began when she first met the little girl who came to be known as Willa Gray Akins, her daughter.

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The series of photos show Willa as a small baby cradled in Lauren’s arms, and then progress as she grows and their connection deepens. In one sweet video clip, Lauren can be seen teaching Willa to say and sing “Da-da.”

HAPPY #givingtuesday! These are some pics of my baby before she was legally my baby-she’s ALWAYS been MY baby💗💗 but, I wanted to share these because every time you #help1 #feed1 and #love1 of the children @147million supports in Uganda you are helping, feeding and loving a Willa Gray (SHE used to be one of the mouths y’all were feeding with every purchase & donation to 147😩💛🙌🏼). In the last photo there’s a pic of me and TR wearing the newest 147 Million Orphans t-shirts and with each one you purchase you are feeding one child in Uganda for TWO WEEKS💪🏾💛💛💛 so get to giving! It’s such a good feeling 🙂 not to mention you get a cute shirt😘 link to purchase is in @147million ‘s bio! Thank y’all and MERRY CHRISTMAS OFFICIALLY 💚❤️🎄🎁😍🙌🏼 #help1 #feed1 #love1 #itsthemostwonderfultimeoftheyear

A post shared by Lauren Akins (@laur_akins) on

Do y’all remember when the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes? Same!

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Even though Uganda-born Willa has only been in the United States since May, it’s hard to remember when she wasn’t a part of the Akins “Home Team.” She fell into life in America surprisingly easily, and has now adapted to being a great big sister to infant Ada James.

To see how you can donate to 147 Million Orphans, click here and, as Lauren says, “Get to giving!”

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development in the past. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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