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A Texas church adopts 77 kids in this real-life drama starring New Orleans’ Demetrius Grosse



A Texas church adopts 77 kids in this real-life drama starring New Orleans’ Demetrius Grosse

Angel Studios’ “Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot” opened in nearly 2,200 theaters nationwide on July 4. It was the second film by writer/producers Joshua and Rebekah Weigel to focus on American children caught in troubling situations.

Last summer, their drama “Sound of Freedom” explored the horrors of child trafficking. Their current film takes a deep dive into this country’s foster care system, dramatizing the real-life story of a bishop and his wife who in 2006 led 22 members of their congregation to adopt 77 of east Texas’ most endangered kids.

In 1997, struggling with the sudden loss of her mother, first lady Donna Martin, of the Bennett Chapel Baptist Ministry, was searching for solace and a way forward when she learned of the plight of so many of Texas’ children. Already the mother of two, one with special needs, she heard about the desperation of children in the state’s foster care system and was convinced she could make a difference.

But it was a tough sell to convince her husband, the Rev. W.C. Martin, that bringing troubled children into their home had become her calling, and should become his.

Actor Demetrius Grosse portrays the initially conflicted bishop in the film. Grosse is originally from Washington, D.C., but now lives in New Orleans, his wife’s hometown.

“I wanted to understand how my character came to this life-altering decision,” Grosse said. “It made me think of American rapper and activist Nipsey Hussle,” who was murdered in Los Angeles five years ago.

Hussle “posed an important question when he asked, ‘Would you rather be at peace with yourself and at war with the world, or at peace with the world and at war with yourself?’” Grosse said. “I believe that W.C. Martin asked himself that exact question when dealing with his wife’s mission, and decided he’d rather be at peace with himself.”

Demetrius Grosse

Demetrius Grosse, Diaana Babnicova and Nika King star in ‘Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot,’ which tells the true story of a family who changed the trajectory of the foster-care system in Texas.

The couple then plunged headlong into the foster system, adopting children and encouraging others to do the same. The film paints a picture of resilient children who have been thrown into turmoil through no fault of their own.

The script never glosses over the very real problems involved in adoption and never implies it’s easy. In fact, bringing abused children into a stable environment often disrupts the nuclear family home. One child has become so detached from the horrors of her life that she has decided to take on the persona of a cat. Another child, upon hearing bathwater run, flees screaming, because he was once scalded in a hot bath.

As Donna Martin says, it takes real, committed love to persevere when children who have never been able to trust anyone are continually pushing you away.

The topic of foster care is no less relevant today than it was 25 years ago. With 400,000 children in the system, and 100,000 in need of permanent homes as of 2024, it’s an ongoing issue.

The filmmakers are walking the walk, and are people that actor Grosse greatly admires.

“The Weigels are a married couple who both have four or five children and are adoptive parents to two of them,” said Grosse. “I cannot extol them enough. They moved their entire family to this community of Possum Trot and lived with the Martins. It gave them the integrity to write and produce a story this great, and the fuel to endure the sacrifices they made for their own family.”

“Sound of Hope” co-stars Nika King (“Euphoria,” “Greenleaf”) as the determined Donna Martin, and Elizabeth Mitchell (“Running Scared,” “Lost”) in the pivotal role of real-life case worker Susan Ramsey who works with the adoptive families in Texas. By the time the film ends, there’s not a child left to be adopted within a 100-mile radius of Possum Trot.

Grosse attended Carnegie-Mellon and Oxford universities and has played commanding roles on the stage and major roles in the “Rampage” and “Justified” series on TV. He’s best known for films like “Straight Outta Compton,”  and he’s about to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Eric Williams/Grim Reaper in the Disney+ series, “Wonder Man.” But Grosse hasn’t forgotten the word “legacy,” which he says his mother always hammered home.

“As a dad now, with younger kids, I enjoy watching things with them,” Grosse said. “So, going forward, I want to portray roles that show strong, compassionate, gentlemen. They don’t have to be perfect people, they may be flawed, but they should have a righteous mission behind them, and ultimately, do what’s necessary for the greater good.”

With “Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot”, his mission is accomplished.

The film is currently playing in theaters nationwide.

Leslie Cardé can be reached at

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