Notice: All forms on this website are temporarily down for maintenance. You will not be able to complete a form to request information or a resource. We apologize for any inconvenience and will reactivate the forms as soon as possible.

Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot

Content Caution



In Theaters


Home Release Date




Adam R. Holz

Movie Review

Death can be a paradoxical catalyst for new life. And so it is for Donna Martin.

She and her pastor husband, Rev. TC Martin, reside in the East Texas community of Possum Trot. They don’t have much, but they have each other. And they have their family—both their own two teens (Ladonna and Princeton) and their extended family.

And by extended, I mean extended. Donna is one of 18 children. And her mother, Murtha, is the community matriarch in every sense of the word. When Murtha passes suddenly after a heart attack, her death shoves Donna into depression and despair.

Crying out to the Lord in the woods near her home one day, she sees children playing nearby—not unusual by any means. But God speaks to her in that moment. “It’s strange how He speaks,” she narrates. “Without words. But you know.”

And what does she know? That her journey out of grief involves adopting needy children.

“I wanna love like Momma did,” she tells her skeptical husband.

And Donna will not be stopped. Soon she and her sister, Diann, meet with Susan Ramsey, a social worker who coordinates the area’s foster care placement.

It’s not long before Diann, who’s similarly convicted, adopts two needy children. Donna soon does the same, knowing that her reluctant husband will eventually get on board.

He does—in a big, big way.

The Martins adopt three children themselves, including a deeply troubled teen named Terri who tests every bit of their dedication to loving her … and then some.

And then that dedication begins to snowball. Diann and Donna are joined by other families. The loving members of the Martins’ church—22 families in all—ultimately adopt 77 children.

It’s an amazing, inspiring true story. But it’s not an easy one, as we see in Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot.

Positive Elements

It’s difficult to even try to divide the positive elements here from the faith that inspires them. The members of WC’s church weave prayer and petition into virtually everything they do, in part because most are so poor that they’re praying daily for basic needs to be met. Despite that poverty, however, we see their deep generosity in their  willingness to adopt so many children.

Social worker Susan Ramsey also labors tirelessly to place and protect foster children. The story demonstrates her tenacious commitment to helping the children she serves; she works long hours and obviously goes to great lengths to try to ensure the best outcomes for them—even when it’s clear that some foster parents (though none in Possum Trot) have mixed motivations for taking children in. At least one older woman in a different community neglects a child, and it’s suggested that she’s more interested in the state’s stipend than in truly parenting this needy child. Susan recognizes this, and she ultimately removes the child from the woman’s household.

We see, poignantly, how many children in foster care have been damaged by childhood trauma, which is often compounded by foster families who decide that they can’t care for these kids. TC and his church members, in contrast, practically beg Susan to give them the older kids, the problems kids, the ones who are so damaged that no one wants them.

We see Susan try to tap the breaks a bit on WC and Donna’s initial enthusiasm. She tries to warn them how hard some of these cases will be. That’s especially true for a teen named Terri, who has endured terrible things. WC and Donna insist that they can love Terri, and their sacrificial commitment to the girl is indeed tested—nearly pushing them to the breaking point. Trying to convince Terri to give up pretending to be a cat is the first of many trials for them.

Terri is so deeply wounded that she pretends to be a cat most of the time—just the first of many hurdles that TC and Donna must overcome as they seek to love her. Elsewhere, the story hints at similarly difficult troubles faced by other adoptive families. Sound of Hope is an inspiring story, but an unvarnished one that clearly depicts how adopting a child out of foster care can be a challenging commitment at times—but one well worth the sacrifice as children grow and gradually heal from past trauma.

Early on, we also learn that TC and Donna’s teen boy, Princeton, is developmentally disabled because of being deprived of oxygen at birth. He requires constant care, and Donna is his primary caretaker. When she falls into depression, TC and Princeton’s sister, Ladonna, must step in to meet his basic needs—such as helping him eat and go to the bathroom.

Susan and those she works with are initially skeptical of the Possum Trot families’ commitment, fearing that they’ll bail when the going gets tough. The going does get tough, pushing the Martins very nearly past what they can bear. But they ultimately hold firm and demonstrate the redemptive difference love can make in the life of a hurting, neglected and abused child.

Spiritual Elements

We see several church services that TC leads, all of which blend music and preaching into an ongoing stream of worship, preaching and exhortation.

Once he’s fully committed to adoption, he powerfully exhorts his small congregation to do the same. He talks about Pharoah’s daughter essentially adopting Moses out of the Nile River and asks, “Why ain’t we doin’ the same?” He challenges his people to “wrap our arms around the most vulnerable among us.” Will it be hard? Absolutely, he says. But then TC adds, “I looked [in the Bible]. I looked. I can’t find where He said our life gonna be easy. I can’t find it, ‘cuz He ain’t never said it.”

It’s also very clear that faith plays an integral, ongoing role in the lives of Possum Trot’s residents. They frequently exclaim things like, “Oh my Lord Jesus, help me!” Throughout the film, Donna narrates the lessons she and her community learned. In those moments, we get homespun nuggets of spiritual wisdom such as, “The Father uses one-way streets because we are not meant to turn back.”

Terri, despite her brokenness, is on a spiritual journey of her own. She is often angry and rebellious, running away from home at one point and initiating a community-wide search. But we see that she’s also fascinated with baptism, with the idea of being cleansed and experiencing a washing away of her past hurts and sins. And the movie’s emotional momentum builds toward resolving her spiritual tension and her conflict with those around her, especially Donna.

At one point in the film, TC goes to an obviously wealthy megachurch pastor friend of his to ask for financial help for his town’s residents. The megachurch pastor and his team are rehearsing for a Sunday service, and there’s a projected announcement about the church’s forthcoming Caribbean cruise “mission trip.” Pastor Mark tells TC that the church doesn’t have any money in the budget to help—which prompts a predictably scalding response from TC about how much his congregation is doing despite the fact that most of them are very poor. The pastor, obviously embarrassed, writes TC a personal check to help the community’s needs.

For her part, Susan Ramsey doesn’t appear to be a person of faith. But she also seems deeply moved by the faith she sees exhibited by the people of Possum Trot. She attends TC’s church and tells him and Donna that it’s the only church she’d ever step foot in. It’s clear that witnessing how the church’s faith has led to loving and sacrificial care for the vulnerable has moved her deeply.

Sexual Content

Terri acts out significantly in one scene, wearing revealing clothes and inviting a high school boy into a bathroom stall with her for, it would seem a sexual liaison. We see one piece of clothing (likely her top) fall to the ground at their feet. Afterward, Terri weeps with remorse and shame.

We hear that Terri’s mother may have prostituted her when the girl was younger.

Early in the film, Donna suggestively hints to friends that the way to convince a husband of something he’s not sure of is to use sex somewhat manipulatively to get her way. A scene later involves TC wanting to initiate sex, in which he puts music on and quotes from Song of Solomon. Amid kissing on the bed, Donna brings up adoption, to TC’s frustration.

In a humorous scene, Donna tells her husband on the phone that she needs “lady things” from the store, which prompts a groan from him.

Violent Content

A harrowing scene early in the film shows the two children the Martins initially adopt before Terri, Mercedes and Tyler, enduring a horrific foster-care experience. Their foster mother is accosted by a drug dealer demanding money from the woman. As Mercedes desperately talks to a 911 dispatcher, the interloper hits, shoots and kills the woman, with bullets flying through the walls near where young Mercedes is crouched in terror.

Elsewhere, we see Murtha clutch her chest as she dies of a heart attack. We also see bruises and healing wounds on the skin of some of the children who are adopted, indicating previous and recent physical abuse. Terri, we’re told specifically, was also a rape victim.

Terri trips Ladonna, which eventually prompts Donna to repeatedly spank the girl angrily in a scene that feels understandable but uncomfortable at the same time. Donna realizes that she’s lost her temper and responded inappropriately.

Crude or Profane Language

Terri says, “You’re a little b–ch, Ladonna.” Elsewhere we hear a couple uses of “h—” and an utterance of “for God’s sake.” In a moment of frustration about Princeton’s bathroom needs, Donna uses the phrase “wipe your a–.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

Susan says she can’t take two foster kids home with her one late night at the office because she needs to go home and drink to deal with her disappointment about a guy who’s treated her badly.

Other Negative Elements

Donna believes that God has called her and TC to adopt children, but she’s not quite forthright about that conviction until practically the moment the children show up at their home.

We hear how one woman’s sewer system has backed up because it’s getting so much more use since she’s adopted several children.


We often use the word inspiring to describe true stories of human grit and determination. It’s a good and appropriate word—and it’s an appropriate word to describe Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot.

But as I mentioned in this review’s introduction, it’s not an easy story. We see that loving the children adopted here toward healing and wholeness is hard. It requires sacrifice on every level: emotional, relational, spiritual and financial. We watch as TC and Donna Martin walk that road—first in hope, often through moments of deep despair. And there’s no guarantee that someone like Terri, for instance, will ultimately be able to receive the love the Martins strive so valiantly—if at times imperfectly—to show her.

And in that Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot does something significant: It inspires and challenges viewers to consider whether we, too, might seek to make a lifechanging difference in the life of a child in foster care. But it never suggests that doing so will require anything less than everything we’ve got.

This is, in the end, a deeply inspiring true story, and one worthy of your consideration. That said, its PG-13 rating should be taken into account with regard to young viewers, because the subject matter here is at times painfully disturbing, even as the arc of Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot curves toward its powerfully redemptive—and hope-filled—conclusion.

The Plugged In Show logo
Elevate family time with our parent-friendly entertainment reviews! The Plugged In Podcast has in-depth conversations on the latest movies, video games, social media and more.
Adam R. Holz

After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.