OOP leaves and her kids are raised by a wolfpack

This is a tale of a woman who left her kids for 7 years:

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From the original poster:

I (28F) have three kids with my ex (30M). We were never married, but we dated while I was in college. My senior year, I got pregnant and had twins (both boys). He moved me in with him and we were raising our kids together. 14 months after giving birth to the boys, I had a girl. Immediately after I had postpartum depression. I wasn't doing well and I decided to go back home to my parents to try to clear my head.

Once home, I saw my old bedroom, my old things and was kind of reminded of what I always wanted to do. I always wanted to take a gap year to travel, but I had gotten a scholarship to my first choice school and it seemed silly to pass it up. I decided then, this is what I needed to get in the right mental state. I called BD and told him I'm going to Europe for a couple of months. He was incensed and tried to talk me out of it. I explained this is what I needed to go back to being myself and be a better parent and partner.

So I went. He called me the first couple of months and kept asking if I was coming back. Eventually he stopped calling. About six months in, my parents told me that he had filed to get full custody of the kids. I was mad he didn't tell me before doing it, but I thought I'd at least take full advantage and really see the world and get it out of my system. I traveled for a little over two years and visited every continent. When I was done, I really wanted to see my kids, but I felt guilty for not being present in their lives and I didn't want to face my ex. One of the friends I made in my travels, offered me a gig as an English teacher in a private school in Thailand. I took the opportunity and spend the next three years doing that.

This year, I returned stateside and stayed with my parents. They showed me pictures of the kids and told me, my ex let them see the kids a couple of times. I got in touch with him, telling him I was ready to be involved in their lives and he flat out refused. I threatened to sue for custody and he just replied Good luck with that and sent my pictures of me partying in Europe. They are not flattering. My parents want to see their grandkids more, but they tell me it's all my fault for not being able to see them. AITA for trying to see them?

From a commenter giving more information:

Reddit, it's my time to shine. Had to make a brand new account to not to reveal anything personal. I know exactly who this is, I know the kids and the dad.

Those kids were raised by a wolfpack. When this pathetic waste of oxygen abandoned her kids, basically anyone and everyone who had a passing relation to the dad stepped up. His mom moved in for the first year to help with the babies. Neighbors, friends and relatives all donated or bought kids stuff for them. Clothes, diapers, toys, anything he needed. One of his friends manages a restaurant and he brought them unused food almost every night. I work at a bank, so I had nothing useful to contribute other than money and time. One of our buddies runs an MMA gym, and he has a kids class that starts after school, so he take them in after school until their dad gets off work. Whenever the kids need a babysitter, two or three rowdy men show up ready to be horseys or punching bags for the boys and tea party guests for the little girl.

One of our other friends is a lawyer, he helped him gaining custody and advised him though the process. OP's parents are rich and they always offer money to help. On the advise of our lawyer friend he always refuses. That way they can't use that in any future custody battle. He didn't even let them introduce themselves as their grandparents, so they can't claim a relationship.

Their dad is doing well now, those kids don't want for anything. Every Sunday night, he hosts us to watch football and hang out with the kids. His daughter delights in serving everyone "wheat juice." Their so much better of without this witch.

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