Ashley Boone is uniquely qualified to become an adoptive mom. But the a 36-year-old Black woman with a two-bedroom home stocked with books and toys in a suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma — has been unable to take in the two children she says need her most: her nephews, ages 6 and 7, who live in Minnesota.

Boone is a licensed foster parent with expertise caring for higher-needs children, and an experienced social worker steeped in supporting kids who’ve been separated from their parents. Yet despite Minnesota laws that prioritize kin care, county officials in the state have sided with a foster parent vying to adopt the two brothers, blindsiding their aunt.

In this two-part series, The Imprint reports on Boone’s fight to keep her family together, the resistance she has faced, and what happens next.