Hansie and Operation Smile

Anyone who knows Hansie isn’t surprised to hear he was the baby charmer for Operation Smile. Everywhere we went with Hans as a teenager, little kids would flock around him as he played and told jokes. At the end of every party, we’d find Hans encircled by little people who tearfully bid him goodbye.

Hansie was lucky enough to volunteer as a translator with Operation Smile in Madagascar last year.  When they came to Madagascar again this Spring he was thrilled when they requested his translating services once again.

Since elementary school, I’ve told Hans he was born to be a doctor and work with kids– he has the brains and the heart. I said it so much he became annoyed with me and told me he’d choose his own path– thank you very much. But after two rounds with Operation Smile, he’s determined to become a surgeon.

And if you saw all the graphic photos Hansie sent, you’d know he’s chosen the perfect path (I’ll spare you those).


During our Mother’s Day phone call I asked Hans if people still offered him babies. “Every single day.” he answered, “And at least half the people are serious about it and really want me to take their baby back to America.”

“I actually looked it up,” I told him, “and it’s nearly impossible to adopt from Madagascar– parents have to be under age 40, they need to stay in Madagascar for approximately 3 months and the cost is $40,000. So I guess it’s only for movie stars.”

Hans started to laugh– “Oh no. You wouldn’t have to do that. Everything in Madagascar runs on bribes. You just go to the airport and when they ask for your papers you hand them 20,000 ariary.”

“How much is that?” Erik asked, “$100? $1000?”

“Oh I could get you SO many babies for $100!” Hans replied. “”20,000 ariary equals about $7.”

And I just looked it up and it’s actually $6.39. So that gives us 15 babies with change left over.

Obviously, we’re not planning any illegal international adoptions. Jail doesn’t look fun. But oh! Wouldn’t we all love to bring home one of these babies?!


In just over a month, we’ll welcome Hansie home. We’ve missed him every day, but he’s learned so much about himself, taught English and dug ditches and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. He’s also been blessed with the best, kindest mission presidents– President and Sister Foote. And I especially love Sister Foote since she Instagrams and I get to see Hansie every few weeks on her feed.

I can hardly wait to see Hansie’s smile in person. And I’m looking forward to all the smiles he creates in years to come.

Operation Smile

May 23, 2017
June 1, 2017


1 Comment

  1. Anne Marie

    June 3, 2017

    Your Hansie is truly an angel. What an amazing opportunity for him to have! He will continue to bless so many people. xox

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