Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren brought home their daughter Willa from Uganda earlier this month.Now they're opening up about the long journey it took to make her part of their family.
“I don’t think anyone can fully prepare you for the journey of adopting someone, especially from a third-world country where there are so many different laws,” Thomas tells “People.” “Every day you wake up with a whole new set of challenges that you never even heard of.”
When the pair decided they wanted to adopt Willa, in April of 2016, they soon learned how complicated it would be due to Uganda’s adoption laws. They had to foster the baby in Uganda for a year before they could adopt which meant they both were traveling back and forth to be with their daughter, each time unsure of how long they’d actually have to stay. Thomas notes, “Things moved at a snail’s pace.”
Meanwhile, as the process was going on, Lauren found out she was pregnant, which made travel harder. In March, she went to Uganda again with her mom hoping she’d be returning with her daughter, but just as she was close to bringing Willa home she had to return to Nashville for a checkup, so Lauren’s mother stayed to bring finally bring the baby home earlier this month.
There was one other hitch to bringing Willa home that the couple didn’t expect. Just as she was arriving in Nashville, the Nashville Predators sent out a tweet to have fans meet them at their hangar as a send off to their Stanley Cup playoffs. Their hangar was right next door to where Willa’s plane was landing. Thomas jokes, “We pulled up in the car and expected it to be low key, but holy crap, half of Nashville was there!”
Photo: Thomas and Lauren Rhett
ONE MORE THING! Now that Willa’s home, the pair has a couple of months before Lauren gives birth to their daughter in August and so far they haven’t come up with a name. Thomas says he’d like to keep it a family name but jokes that they are all guy names. He adds, “Maybe we can try to make it sound more girly when we name her.”