Lauren Akins And Thomas Rhett Adopted A Child From Uganda. Here's How They Continue To Help.

Akins is sharing her work with 147 Million Orphans.

Lauren Akins is committed to helping children around the world lead better lives. She and her husband, country singer Thomas Rhett, adopted their daughter Willa Gray from Uganda last May. After giving birth to another daughter, Ada James, just months later, Akins has returned to the African country to continue her work with the organization 147 Million Orphans.

Akins shared what a difference the organization is making on Instagram through the story of a young boy named Frances, who is a "total orphan" in that he has no living relatives. She posted a series of photos showing the 5-year-old's journey, which began with him weighing only 12 pounds, "with jiggers [a parasitic insect] eating up his fingernails, no clothes and barely anything to eat."

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. 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. 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 & 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 :)

A post shared by Lauren Akins (@laur_akins) on

"Enoch, on our 147 team, took him to the hospital then brought him to our new 147 Million Orphans Reclaim Center," Akins wrote. "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."

Akins went on to explain that these days Frances is "not even the same child," adding that he "loves to be loved on," and "he has clothes, his fingernails are almost completely healed, and he has yummy healthy food and water, medicine, education and shelter."

"I held him the last day we were there and he fell asleep on me, we ate some snacks, we sang songs, we played & laughed and when I held him he held on to me so tight," Akins wrote. "So thankful Jesus brought us to him and I cannot wait to watch him grow!"

The organization 147 Million Orphans was founded in 2009 by Gwen Oatsvall and Suzanne Mayernick, "to provide the critical needs of children impacted by the orphan crisis and living in poverty." Akins, a certified nurse, is on the board of directors. According to People, during one of her trips to Uganda, she and her team helped rid an entire dormitory of bed bugs, donating brand new mattresses and sheets.

"My heart has always been driven to that," Akins, whose mother was adopted, told Us Weekly of her passion for helping orphans. "It just started as this calling in my life, to speak for these children who don't have a voice. This is what I was really here to do. It lined up perfectly with my heart."

In addition to adopting their daughter, Akins' husband Thomas Rhett has also done his part to support 147 Million Orphans' efforts. In 2016, he held a charity concert in Nashville, which raised $250,000 for the organization. Last year, he partnered with Project 615 to sell limited-edition "Home Team" T-shirts, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting 147 Million Orphans.

UNICEF defines an orphan as "a child under 18 years of age who has lost one or both parents to any cause of death," and reports that there were nearly 140 million orphans globally in 2015, with the numbers slowly declining since 2001.

In her Instagram post, Akins shared that many of her fans often ask her how they can help. She encouraged them to donate to 147 Million Orphans, "giving children like little Frances a chance at a new life." You can check out the organization's Partnership Store here.

(H/T: Taste of Country)

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