It's a family affair.


It's been an incredibly busy year for country singer Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins. They've become new parents, two times over. During their yearlong process of adopting daughter Willa Gray in 2017, the couple learned that Lauren was pregnant. This was a most welcome but unexpected blessing.

Willa Gray came home in May and by August she was a big sister. Ada James was born in August and suddenly two became four. Like most new parents, much thought went into choosing names for their two daughters. Akins recently sat down with Southern Livingand shared a little of that process with us.

"When we started the adoption with Willa Gray we were kinda thinking of names and I wanted a name that was really strong and something that empowered her and encouraged her to know how strong she is," Akins said.

Although she said she wasn't set on naming her children after family, as Akins brainstormed baby names, she was drawn first to a very big figure in both her and Rhett's life.

"Willard is Thomas Rhett's grandfather's name and it means brave, resolutely strong and brave."

She said the idea came to her while folding laundry.

"I stopped folding clothes and I was like, Oh my gosh! We can name her after Paw-Paw! And he was like, ‘What do you mean? Buddy?' ‘Cause a lot of people call him Buddy and I was like, no! Willard! Willa! We can name her Willa!"

Rhett loved the idea and then Akins said they came to Gray for a middle name because her little brother's name is Grayson.

When it came time to find a name for baby sister, Akins once again was drawn to family names.

"With little Ada, my grandmother's name was Ada. And also googling meanings of things, Ada means happy…I thought well that's fitting. She's the happiest little surprise we ever had. And so we went with Ada and James is a family name on both sides. Three times on Thomas Rhett's side."

We are pretty partial to family names and we think they chose well!