Lauren Akins Shares the Meaning Behind Daughters Willa Gray and Ada James’ Names

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I’m not a mother yet, but the very thought of having to pick a name for a child is enough to send me into a frenzy. How do you decide what name to give a person for the rest of their lives?

In an interview with Southern Living, Thomas Rhett’s wife Lauren Akins shared why and how they landed on the names for their two daughters: Willa Gray and Ada James.

When it came to Willawho was adopted from Uganda, Lauren said she wanted to pick a name that symbolized strength. “I wanted a name that was really strong and something that empowered her and encouraged her to know how strong she is,” Lauren said.

Lauren shared that she knew Thomas Rhett’s grandfather, Willard, before she and TR even started dating– and he’s been a big part of her life ever since. “For many years he’s been the rock of our family,” she said. “Willard means brave, resolutely strong and brave.”

So, from Willard they got Willa— and she decided on Gray as a shortened version of her brother Grayson’s name.

Ada James’ name is tied to her family roots, too. “My grandmother’s mom’s name is Ada– Googling meanings of names, I found that Ada means happy,” Lauren said. “And she’s the happiest little surprise we’ve ever had!”