Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot

Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot is a beautiful, spiritual movie that left me a little choked up at the end. Based on a true story, it’s about a small Texas town where 22 Black church-going families banded together to adopt 77 foster children who were considered difficult placements. When my wife and I adopted our first child, the judge at the finalization said, “I’ve been doing this a long time and I firmly believe God puts these children where they’re meant to be.” That is precisely the film’s theme.

Donna Martin (Nika King) is the wife of Bennett Chapel's minister, WC Martin (Demetrius Grosse). Following her mother’s death, Donna comes to believe she’s being called to expand their family by adopting foster children. Her husband requires a little convincing. Once he’s on board and begins preaching about the needs of these children, other parishioners in his church become inspired to do the same thing. The Martins consult with Child Protective Services worker Susan Ramsey (Elizabeth Mitchell) to match up the most troubled kids with stable families. They personally take in Susan’s toughest case, a teen named Terri (Diaana Babnicova) who is a victim of horrific abuse.

That’s clearly an inspiring idea, and Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot absolutely portrays how wonderful adoption can be. There’s an incredibly powerful scene in which Donna attends an adoption orientation where Susan describes and shows photos of various abuses, including a victim of neglect whose body is covered in bedbug bites. Difficult as that is to contemplate, the serious way the film tackles its subject matter helps to drive home what a major difference it is when these kids get into safe, loving homes. Running throughout is the suggestion that God picks people to become adoptive parents – that providing a good life to a child in need of one is a way of serving Him.

This is not to say that the movie makes everything look like sunshine and roses. Director Joshua Weigel and his co-writer Rebekah Weigel make it clear that adopting a troubled foster child is not easy. The storyline involving Terri, in particular, accomplishes that, demonstrating how hard attachment can be when kids aren’t used to it, as well as how pushing boundaries becomes an essential part of them determining who to trust. Babnicova avoids the usual “troubled teen” cliches, playing Terri’s defensive rebelliousness in an authentic manner. She's a star in the making.

King and Grosse are outstanding, too. A common hazard of faith-based films is having the characters’ religious views come off as messaging rather than as sincere. The actors give touching performances, convincing us that Donna and WC are legit in their faith and doing everything possible to show their adopted children unconditional love. Their scenes with Mitchell are especially good, as they create a dynamic where these three people collaborate to have a positive impact.

Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot is made with skill, boasting impressive cinematography and production design. It’s also infused with passion that you can feel while watching it. The movie breaks your heart, then puts it back together again. You come to understand the tragic circumstances abused/neglected children face, but you also witness how deeply love, compassion, and empathy can expedite healing.

Bring along a box of tissues. You’ll be crying happy tears as the end credits roll.


out of four

Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot is rated PG-13 for thematic material involving child abuse, some violence, language, and brief suggestive material. The running time is 2 hours and 6 minutes.

Universal

© 2024 Mike McGranaghan