Thanks for the replies.
As far as going to get my children, here is some background on myself:
I have not seen the kids in about a year and talked to them on the phone sporadically as I suffered from depression, couldn't hold a job, was behind in child support, lived with a family who moved to Oklahoma, felt worthless/hopeless....when they moved I moved with them because I didn't know what else to do. I don't understand "the system" well...it overwhelms me.
In August, 2004, I tried to commit suicide......my family (in CA) was called and they came and got me. I am living at my parents and my sister/her family lives next door. They have been helping me. I went to counseling, was put on medication for depression. In helping me, they took me to court to get a "small fraud" warrant behind me. It was welfare fraud that my ex-wife did when we were married & living in CA in 1998. (She is the "system worker"/very aggresive person.....I am passive and have been in mental health hospitals 3x since I married her.)
In the course of taking care of the "small fraud", a warrant showed up from MO. for back child support and I was extradited to MO. I was in panic mode during that ordeal. I was released and allowed to return to CA with family, but had to fulfill the remainder of the small fraud charge, which was 19 days under house arrest, which was completed 1/1/05.
My back child support is now paid in full (with the help of my family) and I am current. I am now seeking employment and back on medication. I've never drunk, smoked, or done drugs (other than my depression medication RX). I am doing better.
I have been in contact (by phone) with the kids since November. I called weekly until I found the phone "no longer in service"....a few days later is when we found out about the arrest (12/2004) of the ex-wife when her mother notified us. I talk to the kids frequently.
I have been told that I can't just go get them and bring them to CA....that I should go to court and get a modification of custody order first. I am seeking an attorney right now. As stated previously, I have to wait until after the 20th to get a copy of my divorce papers.....ex-wife had custody and I have "flexible" < parenting time >, but as to exact wording, I am not sure.
I am getting better, but without the help of my family, I couldn't do this. My sister has really helped me. And the fact that my ex-wife is in jail right now (sentence hearing is today) makes it much easier to call the kids. Ex-wife is intimidating/manipulative/controlling, etc. The maternal grandmother is not happy about her daughter and is glad that I am back in the kids lives. I appreciate what she is doing, but also want the kids to know that I love and want them.
Thanks for listening.