Country musician Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren were childhood friends. They met in first grade, and a seed was planted that would one day grow into a romantic interest. They parted ways for a bit only to reunite and get married. The couple decided to start a family.

Despite Lauren’s family being very fertile, she and Thomas had a difficult time getting pregnant. After quite a bit of time trying, they decided that maybe God was telling them that they should adopt.

Lauren was a nurse and traveled often to Africa with the Christian charity 147 Million Orphans. While working there she met a toddler named Willa. Willa had been orphaned shortly after she was born. Lauren immediately felt a connection with the child. She became determined to find the girl a home. As they spent time together, Thomas and Lauren decided they were open their home to her. “I was astonished at how quickly I bonded with her–and how immediately, she just felt like she was my child,Thomas recalled

Legally, the couple endured many obstacles on the path to becoming Willa’s parents. Uganda laws require parents to foster a child in their home country for a year before the adoption can be finalized.

During the process, Lauren discovered that she was pregnant even though they had stopped trying. The schedule was grueling. Thomas had to travel back and forth many times to honor his commitment to the child as well as keep up with his touring responsibilities. Lauren came and went for medical examinations and tests for her pregnancy. Her heart broke a little each time she had to leave Willa behind.

Her parents helped out whenever possible. With sheer joy on their faces, the couple finally introduced their daughter to fans on Instagram on May 12. The family is very excited to see what the future holds.

Click here to read about the day Willa came home.