We have been thoroughly enchanted with the seemingly fairy tale life shared by Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins. They are both so incredibly humble, they would probably scoff at our compliments, but not only have they given us #RelationshipGoals, they’ve also inspired us with their love and their incredible hearts. Remember, shortly after starting the process to adopt their adorable Willa Gray from Uganda, they learned they were pregnant with precious Ada James.
While some couples may have halted or postponed the adoption, Thomas and Lauren pressed forward, counting it as a blessing from God.
Although Lauren shared photos with us on social media from all the way back when she first met Willa Gray at an orphanage, we’re only now learning the whole story of where orphans like their little ray of light— who we have all fallen in love with — came from. But now, on her current trip with the charity 147 Million Orphans, the beautiful blonde who glows with hope gets very real about the plight of these babies and children.
And heartbreaking doesn’t begin to describe it.
In her typical optimistic fashion, Lauren first shares images of the precious faces that are being helped by the nonprofit organization that she and Thomas Rhett support. And even though she’s thrilled to be back serving those who need it most, she admits it’s strange to be there for the first time without Willa Gray.
A day later, she shared a photo album from her trip. And while it started out with the face of a child who looked pretty comfortable in Lauren’s arms, the collection of pictures turned dark and painful quickly.
Lauren wrote, “So this is sweet little Frances. And if you scroll through these pics **WARNING some of them are hard to look at—but it was his reality** he was found by our @147millionorphans ground team in Masindi, Uganda. He is a total orphan, meaning no living relatives. He weighed about 12 pounds, yet he’s about 5 years old. The reason he looked like he did is because of complete malnourishment. He had no one to care for him. The community would put cassava root in a little bowl and he just sat there in the dirt with jiggers eating up his fingernails, no clothes and barely anything to eat.”
But both the story and Frances take a turn for the better. Lauren continues, “Enoch, on our 147 team, took him to the hospital then brought him to our new 147 Million Orphans Reclaim Center. He cried when anyone touched him, and he cried when they tried to put clothes on him because he wasn’t used to any loving human touch. He had no idea how to accept it. Oh my goodness. Today he’s not even the same child, thank you Jesus. He loves to be loved now not only from Ugandans but mzungus (white people) too. 💛💛 Now he has clothes, his fingernails are almost completely healed and he has yummy, healthy food and water, medicine, education and shelter—all of this provided by @147millionorphans in Jesus’ name. 😘🙌🏼 Y’all, he’s the most precious little boy and there are many more just like him.”
Yes, that snuggly, cuddly baby boy that Lauren so comfortably cradles in her arms is the same emaciated child in those devastating photos.
Lauren goes on to say, “So many of y’all ask me how to help. A huge way to help is by donating to @147millionorphans and giving children like little Frances a chance at a new life😘. I held him the last day we were there and he fell asleep on me. We ate some snacks, we sang songs, we played and laughed, and when I held him he held on to me so tight😩😭💙. So thankful Jesus brought us to him and I cannot wait to watch him grow! Stay tuned for more pics of the little sweeties at our reclaim center :)”
We aren’t sure exactly who the Alabama song “Angels Among Us” is about, but we can’t help but think that Lauren is truly one of them.