Place bay leaves and beans in a Dutch oven. Add 12 cups water to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 1/2 hours or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, chopped onion, and shallots to pan; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in cumin, dried oregano, and fresh oregano; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Place vegetable mixture in a blender; add remaining 1/2 cup water. Puree until smooth.
Add vegetable mixture, sugar, and salt to beans; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves. Combine avocado and juice; toss gently. Ladle 3/4 cup bean mixture into each of 10 bowls; top each serving with about 3 tablespoons avocado mixture, about 3 tablespoons red onion, 2 tablespoons ham, about 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, about 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 teaspoon pumpkinseed kernels, and about 1/2 teaspoon jalapeño pepper. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.