Too many foster children lead the lives of transients.
For one reason or another, they are shuttled in and out of placements, group homes, temporary family stays and then out into the world.
With little permanence, they grab onto certain precious objects a favorite piece of clothing, a blanket, a stuffed animal.
"It's something that belongs to them," said Maria Durham, a Sacramento foster parent who has adopted four of the kids she's made a home for.
One of her current foster children a 7-year-old who can't be named because he's in court care proudly showed off his room and the drawers he had for his belongings.
But when some foster children have to move, their belongings can be tossed into the only piece of luggage available a plastic garbage bag.
"It just reinforces the idea of a throwaway kid," said DéKyota Wynne, executive director of WynSpring Family Resource Center, a foster placement agency.
That's why Wynne has asked Book of Dreams readers to help pay for some rolling luggage for foster children who have none.
"If you give it to them, it's a statement that they're worth something," she said.
"We work real hard on building their self-esteem," she said. "They're feeling not very much in charge of their lives."
Some of the hardest kids, she places with Durham, who became a foster parent and an adoptive parent almost by accident.
As a cleaning worker in a hospital, she met a 15-year-old who had nowhere to go when she left the hospital. Durham, whose children were grown, wanted to take her home.
After all, that's the way people dealt with needs where she came from the Cape Verde islands off Africa.
She would have taken the girl home, but a social worker asked if she had a foster care license.
"I didn't know anything about licenses or fingerprints," Durham said. "I cried for four years."
She got a license and started taking in foster children. One had been in 13 other homes already.
Many, however, have thrived under her care.
She adopted her first son after he said he would rather stay with her than return to his biological parents.
Now she has four adopted sons, 12 to 15 years old, and three boys in foster care.
"My foster kids don't need to feel as foster kids," she said. "I treat them as family."
Needed: Rolling suitcases