When singer Joy Villa was just 21 years old, she faced the most difficult decision of her life. Involved in an abusive relationship with someone who had a drug dependency, Villa discovered she was pregnant.
The young singer — who believes that abortion is murder — did not know where to turn. She did not know how her life, or the life of her child, would turn out. That is, not until she glimpsed a newspaper ad that said, “Loving families looking for babies.”
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Adoption was not something the California native had considered before that moment. It’s not something many women consider today, especially when the culture seems to suggest there are only two “fixes” for an unexpected pregnancy — keep the child or get an abortion.
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Though it’s a story she’s long kept to herself and a very close circle of friends, Villa now wants to tell women about a different choice — one that she chose 10 years ago.
“I knew I was in no position to raise that kid at 21,” Villa told LifeZette in an exclusive interview about her personal experience. As a struggling artist in a bad relationship and with no support system, Villa saw a future she didn’t want for her baby — a future that would likely be plagued with dependence on government services to survive.
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“I knew my baby deserved an actual happy family with means,” said Villa. One of the biggest influences on her decision to go the adoption route, she said, was her lack of a strong partner. “Two people can do anything,” said Villa, noting that a stable relationship can provide a child with everything he or she needs, rich or poor.
Though she chose to put her child up for adoption, Villa said it was a decision that first brought shame.
“There’s a lot of humiliation that goes with having an unwanted pregnancy.”
“There’s a lot of humiliation that goes with having an unwanted pregnancy,” she said, adding, “Adoption comes with a lot of shame.”
Today’s culture is still unfriendly to the notion of adoption, Villa believes — which is why she’s felt compelled, after recently praying about it, to share her story and let women know an unexpected pregnancy does not need to be as shameful as the culture makes it out to be.
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Giving her baby — a little girl — up to another family was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Villa said, but she insists it was also ultimately “one of the most beautiful.”
The singer worked with a consultant one-on-one through the adoption agency American Adoption. Her consultant had been adopted herself — and was able to give Villa the insight she needed to make her decision.
Villa chose an “open adoption” in the end: She helped choose the family that took in her daughter. She is still in contact with the family — and her little girl.
The child calls Villa “Mama Joy” and knows her beginnings. Though it was a point of great pain in her life early on, Villa says that staying in contact with the family and watching her daughter grow up has healed that wound.
“It’s something I never regret,” she said. “Adoption shouldn’t be taboo anymore.”
Though her fervent pro-life stance is not one many would expect to hear from a modern celebrity, Villa has never toed the expected political line for Hollywood artists. She has also been open about her support of President Donald Trump — and she’s never been shy about her conservative beliefs.
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Abortion, she said, is pushed at women far too much today, often because people play on the “shame” these young women can feel when they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. It’s partly why so many have for so long kept their stories of sexual harassment and assault to themselves.
“Culturally, women are accustomed to taking care of others,” said Villa — revealing that she, too, has been sexually harassed in the past and felt guilt about it afterward. “Women intrinsically are caretakers … You go over to a house, the first person to offer you water or a [seat] or [ask] if you need anything is the woman of the house.”
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Villa believes women still “tend to take the blame” in many situations — and that’s especially dangerous in terms of how the rest of society, or a large portion of it, at any rate, treats those with unexpected pregnancies.
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“Many women are pushed to get an abortion because they feel like it will get rid of the problem. It will erase the problem and that’s what they want right now. They want to forget it,” said Villa. “They don’t want to think about it. They want to move on with their lives. But by getting an abortion, by murdering that child, it actually creates a bigger issue, because now you have more pain piled on top of more pain and more suffering and more shame and regret — and you can never fully get over that.”
She added, “Giving life is never the wrong point.”
“I know that I’ve created a legacy of love.”
Villa made clear she does not wish to “chastise” other women who have chosen differently in their lives than she has, but she wants any moms-to-be to know that adoption is a way to “turn a horrible situation into something beautiful.”
“It is never easy, but making the right decision creates a legacy, and I know that I’ve created a legacy of love by giving life to my daughter,” said Villa. With millions of Americans unable to have children of their own, she described adoption as a way to spread love that isn’t discussed nearly enough.
“I’m not ashamed,” Villa said of her decision. “I chose adoption.”
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